• Lisa Ott

There are Many Paths in Life

“You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity.”- Hal Borland

I saw this on Facebook just after the First of the year and it really resonated with me. I’ve always been drawn to the learners who don’t get their confidence from the classroom; to the kids who display their intelligence and artistry by becoming contractors, or by being a good friend. Often Guilford kids internalize the message that college is the only path, and not just any college - that anything less than the Ivies are second best. But when it comes to Scholarships and Awards nights, it isn’t the students who are the aspens whose achievements I remember, it’s the kids who receive the awards for being the dandelions and the thyme who make me reach for the kleenex.


The world definitely needs the aspens but we also need the less majestic plants and they are the ones who make for the most interesting conversations over a nice cup of tea. So many of our mentees are the dandelions and the thyme - let’s do our best to demonstrate that there are all sorts of paths and if the one that’s right for you doesn’t make itself apparent, that we can be there to help cut a new one.


I’d be very interested in having a conversation about this; what is your life experience? Have you felt like different plants at different times as life has required strong roots or reaching out as far as you can go, maybe further than you’d previously thought possible? Were there moments that you felt like a cactus, trying to survive in elements that were unforgiving, but knowing that you had the ability to hold onto that last drop of moisture for when you really needed it?




Lisa Ott

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