March 5, 2014
A Life Transformed
Dave and I enjoyed a magical puppet presentation of The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Lied Center. This book by Eric Carle, a children’s classic for 45 years, is the story of a little caterpillar, just born, that is very hungry. It’s a counting book, so he eats his way through one apple the first day, two pears the second day, three plums the third day….well, you get the pattern. After the seventh day, he builds his cocoon, and rests for many days. At just the right time, he breaks out of the cocoon, and emerges, transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
The audience at the Lied was mostly children, accompanied by parents and grandparents. Right in front of me was Carter, who seemed to me to be about four, and his mom and his grandparents. When the butterfly appeared, Carter oohed and aahed, and so did every child in the theater. And so did every adult. Even though most of us, well, the adults at least, knew that a butterfly would emerge from that cocoon, we were still awestruck by the beauty of the transformed life.
Which reminded me of two stories I heard yesterday about transformed lives, both of these told by students, about their teachers. The first was in the Lincoln Journal Star, told by an eighth grade student about her middle school instrumental music teacher. The student has a disability that leaves her somewhat impaired on her right side. Her teacher noted the disability, but focused instead on what she could do. He helped her select a different instrument, one that doesn’t require right side arm support. She loves the instrument, and she talks about what a difference playing that instrument has made in her life. She doesn’t use the word “transform,” but that’s what she’s talking about.
The second story was told by one of my colleagues, the president of another Nebraska independent college. We had attended a meeting together, and as we walked back to our cars at the conclusion of the meeting, he said that he was driving on to Omaha to visit a retired professor that that college who is hospitalized in Omaha. He went on to talk about this professor, whose field is biology, and who, in his words, “had a profound effect on my life.” This professor influenced his choice of career, his choice of graduate school, and all that was to follow. Again, a transformed life.
I know that there are stories like this from our students every day. Sometimes we know them; many times we don’t. But they’re happening, and they are beautiful. While the stories may never make the Lied Center stage, that caterpillar/cocoon/butterfly captures the life-changing and life-shaping experiences of our students in this College.
To Think About...
"The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.” - Rainer Maria Rilke
|Marilyn Moore, EdD