The Roots of Success

Years ago when I taught Kindergarten and First Grade, one of my favorite projects was bean sprout observation. The kids always had fun…selecting their seed, stacking their little cups and filling them with soil and sprinkles of water. The’d push their chosen seed down into the dirt and stare at the now covered bean seed waiting for magic to happen. This is where the hardest part of the process came into play. The waiting!

The students would bum-rush the classroom door after every lunch, recess, or new day with great anticipation, expecting minute by minutes, hours by hour, day by day “success” in the form of sprouts, stems, and leaves. When the reality didn’t meant their expectation, their faces dropped, their smiles drifted, and they grew impatient.

As adult learners in an increasingly fast paced culture, we want quick results and immediate gratification. We want to know that our investments and efforts are worth it…and we want to know NOW!

But the truth is growth takes time. NOTHING grows overnight!  Long-term success takes time. It takes roots.

My favorite day of the bean germination project came at the end. The sprout had long emerged and some stems and leaves had begun to take shape. But just before the students completed their observations, I’d take them through one more exercise. I’d have them gently lift their now developed plant and shake of the dirt to reveal the roots.

I’d say, “Remember all those afternoons or mornings when you thought nothing was happening?” “Do you remember being sad and feeling like your seed was ‘broken’? This was what was happening below the surface.” “Do you remember being jealous when your friend’s plant was sprouting and your wasn’t? Your roots were still forming…you just needed more time.”

Roots: They form the foundation. They soak up the nutrients. They take in all that’s needed for energy and life. But they rarely get the credit because they aren’t easily seen. So let me take a moment to let YOU know, as you work toward your HSE credential, that your roots are seen.

Hey, working mamas studying at your kitchen table before the rest of the house is awake, I see you!

To all the night-shifters squeezing in study and preparing for your future in the wee-hours of the morning, I see you.

For all those that need a second chance and a new start, because you didn’t have the “soil and light” you needed the first time around, I see you.

Just like those roots, even when you don’t see results on the surface, change is in the making. Grant yourself grace and know your efforts are chipping away at your goal…even if you don’t sprout right away.


If you are looking for the tools to build strong roots, Essential Education can help.

Reach out to our Student Success Team at 1-800-460-8150 or studenthelp@essentialed.com

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