Jamming And Teaching: Love Deferred

I first started making jam when my oldest son was a few weeks old – curious and excited, I used the recipe from the back of a Sure-Jell box and bought some jars.

Now, ten years later, it’s a much more streamlined act, with hundreds of jars waiting patiently to be filled, a preference for certain recipes, and more joy than ever in that “ping” that comes when a jar is set.

What I love about canning is that it is love deferred. I can’t give my kids fresh Michigan strawberries year-round, but I can prepare them with love, pack them in jars, and provide a taste of summer all winter long. It’s love you’re packing in the jar.

That’s what teaching should be–and is, for so many of the wonderful teachers I know.

The lessons we teach, the experiences we provide, the knowledge we drill into our students: they are fresh ripe strawberries, packed away into our students. Some cold, wintry day down the road, they will open up something we gave them and–pop!–relive a youthful experience. If we do it right, that reliving will make their future profoundly better.