By Sharon Raschke, Ed.D, MBA, CFO, MSBO Board of Directors, Chief Financial Officer, Dexter Community Schools
Plant an acorn in your yard. Make sure the acorn is from a native oak where you live. Find a suitable acorn, one without holes, softness, or that is too green. Pick a spot where it will be in its ideal natural environment and have everything it needs; the availability of sunlight and not too close to competing vegetation, water lines, sidewalks, or buried pipes. Prepare a site for planting and put your acorn in the soil. Be patient while the acorn sprouts and grows its taproot. Protect the seedling from small animals, pests, and the wind. Nurture your growing oak with the right amount of moisture, not too much and not too little. Do not disturb its strong root system by transplanting it elsewhere. As your oak grows and its roots deepen, you will need to care for it less and less. Eventually, it will be big and tall enough that animals would not be able to kill it and its roots will be deep enough for it to survive the summer without any watering. Your oak tree will always be growing and changing, but eventually, it will thrive on its own without showing any signs of distress. In about 20 years, your oak tree may begin producing acorns of its own.
Your children will climb the trunk and swing on its strong branches; your family dog will chase a squirrel high onto its branches that reach the sky; the summer leaves will shade you from the hot sun; rake the amber leaves into a pile for your grandchildren to jump in; your oak tree will hold on so tenaciously that no ill wind or even a tornado will topple or uproot it.
It is hard to imagine that a mighty oak tree can come from a tiny acorn, but with enough patience, you can grow one yourself. Enjoy the lifelong gift you have given yourself, your family, and your neighbors. Its beauty and purpose will survive many generations beyond.
You have a purpose right where you are. Work, learn, and grow where your roots were established. Serve your community in your local public school district. You will always feel at home because you are at home. Become the institutional knowledge, the strength, and the consistency. Make it about your purpose, not position, power, or pay, and you will always be valued.