Many homes have just removed the decorations from their holiday trees and removed the bare, brittle tree from their house. This has caused me to reflect on a drive last fall through many miles of tree farms, observing some trees ready for harvest but many more trees that were many years away from cutting.
During that drive I thought about the character of those who had planted the trees. This is not like many crops which are planted in spring and provide a return on the investment by fall. One who plants trees knows the harvest is many years of growth and pruning away. That return on investment could be a decade or two of toil down the road.
As I questioned how these farmers could wait so long, I began to marvel at the optimistic, patient spirit they must have. Their hope and persistence. Their assurance that the time and money invested now will be rewarded later.
This humbling internal dialogue caused me to think of dedicated teachers, coaches and administrators who, metaphorically, are planting some trees and pruning others each and every school year, knowing they may never personally see the results. But having confidence that, in time, there will be a return on the investment they and their communities have made in our young people.