“Encouragement” by Mrs. Elizabeth Clementine Kinney
When first peeps out from earth the modest vine,
Asking but little space to live and grow,
How easily some step, without design,
May crush the being from a thing so low!
But let the hand that doth delight to show
Support to feebleness the tendril twine
Around some lattice-work, and ’t will bestow
Its thanks in fragrance, and with blossoms shine.
And thus, when Genius first puts forth its shoot,—
So timid that it scarce dare ask to live,—
The tender germ, if trodden under foot,
Shrinks back again to its undying root;
While kindly training bids it upward strive,
And to the future flowers immortal give.
Most people are too busy pursuing their personal goals and too wrapped up in their own feelings to spend much time supporting the delicate shoots of genius which sprout regularly through those around them. To put one’s own wants and needs second to the desire to show support for the creative impulse moving through another is a rare quality indeed.
Consider the way most people carry themselves in conversation. Rather than truly listen, most are attentive until they hear something which triggers a thought in their own mind. At that point they stop listening and look for a way to get their point across. Or consider our educational system. Instead of seeking to emphasize and draw forth the unique arrangement of genius resident in each student, each student is stained with layers of knowledge deemed to be important to the perpetuation of the society into which he was born.
To my mind, however, he is wisest who lets his life conform to the spirit of the elegant phrase: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” In conversation, this means be a better listener. Actively listen to others. Don’t just hear what they are saying but seek to feel the spirit of their words. In education, this implies striking a balance between the transfer of knowledge and the fostering of wisdom. There is inherent genius – that which is new, special and valuable – constantly seeking to be born through each and every person on earth. Those in the role of teacher must find new and better ways to inspire its expression from the inside out.
Delight in showing support for the tender shoots of genius in those around you and you will begin to feel fulfilled in ways you would have never thought were possible!