This year’s unusually wet weather has apparently created a fungus in many of the trees, which will prevent them from fully showcasing the brilliant colors that are one of the joys of living in Maryland. We can already see a number of leaves falling prematurely, having turned straight to brown from the green hues of summer. But many of the eagerly anticipated oranges, yellows and reds of our sycamores, maples and oaks are beginning to emerge.
These seasonal changes are a yearly reminder to take off your sunglasses as go through your day. You miss something magnificent if you don’t stop to appreciate the wonder and beauty of the burnt oranges, the brilliant yellows and the fiery reds as they are, each day, just at that moment. I also hope you take off your sunglasses as you watch your children, because they too are magnificent and worthy of awe and appreciation as they are in these present moments.
We spend a lot of time looking toward the future instead of appreciating the present. These leafy symbols of change are short lived. We’ll soon wake up to bare trunks, black silhouettes against a gray sky. Your children pass through developmental changes just as quickly. I hope you resist the temptation to envision them as they will be, instead of as they are now. I hope you marvel at what they can do now, instead of what they aren’t ready to do yet.
When you walk through your neighborhood, you’ll see lawns where the trees are still green, maybe barely tinged with red. Further down the road, you may see a brilliant mix of yellows and oranges. Others, randomly scattered, will be noticeably bare in readiness for winter. It amazes me that despite these unusually warm days and our mild entry into fall, the leaves are still changing. They are changing on their own timetable, but they all get the message. Some are early, others will take their time. Some are changing overnight, others are turning slowly from top to bottom, green to yellow to orange to brown.
Your children have the same varied timetable. As you look at them, you see some who follow directions better than others. You hear some who speak clearly and others who are difficult to understand. But they are all growing and developing. Each one of them is being guided and nourished to solidify strengths and to develop the gifts and abilities that are taking a little more time. As adults, it’s important to remember to respect the distinctiveness of the different aspects of each child’s development and honor the timetable that creates each route.
Value your children as individuals who are wonders, right now. Honor their different gifts and talents and respect the pace of their growth, just as you honor the variability and the pace of the trees. It certainly would be a ho-hum season if they all turned the same color at the same time.