I have several friends and family members who are vegetarians or vegans. Each person has made this choice for their own reasons. Some of them do it for the health benefit while others have made this very difficult choice because the morality in the way that the food industry treats animals. There are more reasons than I can list, most of which I completely understand.
|My amazing mom is a vegetarian|
|This amazing lady is a vegan|
I have a tendency to send @VeganMathBeagle text messages when I'm eating salad to tell her how much I'm enjoying the death cries of my lettuce.
On the road trip to Twitter Math Camp, the following picture was taken:
The Justins are culling the next generation of carrots by feasting upon their young! #populationcontrol cc: @j_lanier pic.twitter.com/gLQXgEtYJ6
— Justin (@JustinAion) July 27, 2014
As is the wont of my mind, I then often venture down existential paths, asking myself questions such as "What WOULD it be like for inanimate objects to have consciousness?"
As a parent, I often think about the horrendous, prison-like existence in which Thomas the Tank Engine is trapped, unable to move anywhere but back and forth along the path, unable to stop people from climbing inside him, unable to scratch his nose.
Too much over-thinking about a children's show? or WAY too much over-thinking about a children's show?
I started thinking about dandelions and what it would be like to be a dandelion with consciousness. What would their lives be like? The best that I can think of that they would lead lives of community. They would grow up surrounded by their brothers and sisters, cousins and friends.
Then I thought about their children. They grow their children right out in the open and a casual breeze snatches them away, scattering them to the four corners of the earth. The dandelions never know what happens to their offspring, assuming that some will find a place of their own, but the majority will end up in the stomachs of bird, or drowned in bodies of water, or crushed under the tires of cars, or landing in spaces where they can never drop roots and start communities of their own.
As soon as I had this thought, I realized "this is what we do every day."
We pour our hearts and souls into developing our seeds for the future and then the end of the year comes and blows those seeds away. It carries them onto their futures, their lives and we almost never know what happens. We put our trust in the hope that they will land safely, planting deep roots on stable ground.
But we don't know. We hope.
Except, sometimes, just sometimes, we know.
A student returns to us to tell us about the impact that we have had on their lives. They tell us about the casual comment we made that changed how they view the world, how they interact with others. Sometimes a seed lands in an open field is able to flourish and thrive in ways we never could have expected.
I received the following email to my school account this morning.
I just wanted to thank you for your exceptional efforts with our daughter,during her tumultuous eighth grade year. Your support and guidance meant a great deal to her, in the classroom and beyond, and I know you will be a teacher she remembers and cherishes for years to come.
Thinking of you as the new school year gets underway and wishing you all the best. Hope you find some Whovians in this new crop of students.
I cannot even begin to express my gratitude for this note. I am sitting in a room with amazing educators and education innovators and I'm having tremendous difficulty pretending that my allergies are acting up.
THIS is why I do what I do.
And I suspect that's the same for most teachers.
We don't know where, or even if, most of our seeds land. We must continue growing them and allowing the wind to take them away, trusting in the strength of the seed and the power that we have put into them.