This Sunday at 10:30AM CST, join the Conversations EdTechTalk–with hosts Maria Knee, Lisa Parisi, Sheila Adams–following folks to consider the following question:

Do you bloom where you grow or do you move to bloom?

It’s a question I asked during a Conversation had recently in the last month and one that I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on. In fact, it is a topic Dr. Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant) and I often discuss when we run into each other, although not in so many words.

For me, the question goes back to a response my spiritual mentor, Meg, gave me when I was nineteen years old. It was a powerful response, or so I thought at the time, and it’s taken me awhile to process it. Her response to my “Why don’t you move?” was as follows:

Bloom where you are planted.

It is a response that is stunningly simple. Wherever the sower drops you, do your best to bloom there, to bring your talents and gifts to fruition. Naturally, there is a lot more to consider…the parable of the sower only takes one so far. We’ve legs to move, unlike seeds.

How much blooming can you do in a harsh, or even, toxic, environment? Should you even try? A colleague of mine always made it a point to work in socio-economically challenged areas. “I have a commitment to do right by these kids.” It was a fascinating perspective, especially since he gave it up after years of trying to do right and not getting anywhere in the “education system” he was working in. Yet choosing to bloom where you’re planted can have tremendous effect on the perceptions of those around you. 

Who hasn’t smiled when they’ve seen a blooming flower in the heart of darkness?

When I hear cries of “wipe out public schools,” a part of me rejoices. It rejoices because it means folks are rethinking their current approaches to teaching, learning and leading. Yet, the challenge comes from inequity, our imperfection as human beings to remake anything when we’re so flawed…and, what do you do with the people caught IN the system as you’re trying to remake it into something new, a place where you can bloom?

The older I get, the more inclined I am to want to be mobile rather than settled. Perhaps, I have it all backwards. Instead of getting “more settled,” “more comfortable,” as we get older, maybe instead of moving towards home ownership, we should be doing our best to get more mobile, or is “motile” the right word for planted things?

Motility is a biological term which refers to the ability to move spontaneously and actively, consuming energy in the process.

Imagine rethinking your life from scratch with maximizing motility in mind. I’m sure this isn’t an original thought (read Vicki Davis’ Be Original...oops, it’s not there anymore. Hmm). One of the challenges of becoming more mobile–at a time when everyone is frozen into their upside-down mortgages, unable to move–is how much we’ve invested into our vision of adulthood and what it means to be responsible.

Thinking back to olden times, consider that Only white male adult property-owners had the right to vote in 1790 (Read more: U.S. Voting Rights). Now as communities are able to form online–via Facebook or online social networks–it’s incredible to imagine that land ownership can be a detriment to life in America…and that being stable means being stable amidst the flotsam and jetsam of the economic disaster that has knocked us all flat.

As a homeowner paying a mortgage, I appreciate the comforts of home. Yet, home ownership is also something I sometimes regret. . .I regret it when I see a job opening in Australia, as Dr. Gordon Dahlby is wont to send my way, or I dream of New Zealand, my visit in 2006 assuming the status of a promised land, the way education should be.

When I think of other cultures of education–doing an environmental scan as one colleague put it years ago–it’s easy to imagine that I could just plunge right into that one, shedding years of accumulated baggage acquired from a lifetime of learning, and embrace a new future. Changing jobs, moving from one place to another…these are stressors on our lives and I don’t know about you, but avoiding stress is something many of us do.

The easy way to get stressed – “move house, change your job, change your partner or better still, do all of them together”

Take the stress test on this site, especially if you aren educator and share how you’re doing in these turbulent times. 

Bloom where you’re planted…or move to bloom.  Join us for the conversation this Sunday and let’s find out what the right answer is…for each of us.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure