Fireflies: A FRESH START         

Jan 11, 2012


Mary Kline
SOC Reading Specialist
My mama’s birthday dawned on a blustery cold January day many long years ago.  To make it worse, she was sick in bed with a miserable cold. Due to the amount of snow we had received in the night, school had been canceled. That’s when I got the bright idea to do something to make mama feel better on her birthday. Even though I was only in elementary school, I’d baked beside her since I could stand on a chair and hold a wooden spoon. So I went downstairs to the kitchen and went to work on her favorite dessert – baked apples. I washed them, found the recipe for the pastry crust, measured carefully and tasted only a little. But when it came time to pat the pastry around the apple, it wouldn’t stick. I tried and tried, but finally just had to smash it on. The apples baked, but most of the pastry crust fell off during baking. When I took my ‘birthday disaster’ to mama, she sat up in bed and asked why I was upset. I told her the apples looked awful and they were supposed to cheer her up. Mom said anytime a child of hers showed that much determination and had that much flour on her face, she was cheered up!  She got out of bed, explained that we can either choose to learn from our mistakes or quit. Together we went back to the kitchen and made the best baked apples you ever tasted!                                                                                                
January – the month we think of for new beginnings, fresh starts, resolutions… Perhaps as we think of those for ourselves, we can also look for ways to help our children learn from their mistakes in more creative ways. Quitting isn’t learning. For fifty years Wilson A. Bentley, a simple farmer, developed his technique of microphotography to reveal to the world the grandeur of the snowflake. But his success came at a high price after years of failed attempts at trying to photograph and draw the snowflakes he saw.  In the 1800’s his parents saw his determination, and bought him a camera which cost as much as 10 cows in their herd. Jacqueline Briggs Martin has written the book Snowflake Bentley about this child who had a clear passion for nature and had parents that encouraged him to follow his dream. To this day I’m grateful for a mother who took the time to lovingly explain my error without judgment, laughter, or criticism.  It could very well be the reason that I absolutely love to bake today!  Oh, and by the way, you PEEL the apples first! 
Mary Kline



At January 11, 2012 at 2:00 PM , Blogger silly eagle books said...

I've never read this book, but I'm intrigued! Have you seen the photographs by Kenneth Libbrecht? We have one of his books and love it.

At January 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM , Blogger SOC Admin said...

On my way to check it out now. Thanks so much Vanessa for helping us launch Fireflies. Ask Ben if you can come play with us in Chicago the end of April....IRA Convention. What we all need is more books! Thanks again for everything.


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