The first real lesson of the school year, for the Grade 3/4 class in Monteith at least, was from nature. The teacher asked the whole class to return on the second day with the names of the flowers that they had seen from the spring until then.
It was to be their first homework assignment, with parents expected to help with some of the names and spelling. The teacher also asked them to try to remember approximately when they had seen the flowers.
The kids all returned with long lists the next day. Some even brought pictures.
Then, as the students read out their lists, the teach began to write down the names of the various flowers. He started at one end of the blackboards with dandelions and trilliums and continued all along the boards until he ended with things like chicory, golden rod, and wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace; a long row of different flowers.
And, as all of the 32 students of the Monteith Grade 3/4 class looked around at the long list of different flowers, their teacher pointed out the obvious lesson.
“Different flowers bloom at different times, from spring until fall. They all have their own turn to bloom.” The he looked at each one of his students. “You’re all special. You all deserve a turn when we do things.”
Who knew that nature could teach us a lesson in democracy?
The order of things is one of the first lessons in the Bible. It’s the creation story of Genesis. It’s a theme that’s repeated more than a few times. Even in the philosophical eloquence of the books of wisdom: “To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).