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The Onion Effect

by Dr. Eloise Hughes

One beautiful spring day many years ago, as I was teaching my afternoon high school senior ImageEnglish class, I looked up to see a paper airplane flying directly into my face.  Not such an unusual occurrence, however, the creator and pilot of this particular paper airplane was not the class clown or the constant troublemaker.  The person who instigated this particular flight was none other than the young man who was president of the student council, president of the honor society, captain of the basketball team…well, you get the idea! I was actually shocked…what caused this normally well-behaved young man to act in such a way?

A few days later, I attended a teacher workshop and heard a speaker tell the story of the onion in her refrigerator.  It seems one day as she was cleaning out her refrigerator drawers, she found an old, hard, shriveled onion that had apparently been left in the drawer for many weeks.  The Imagesurprise was that in spite of its terrible condition, the onion had sprouted bright green leaves!  The speaker went on to challenge us to wonder if spring could do this to a supposedly dead onion, what effect could the season have on a teenager?

Spring fever, senioritis…terms with which we are familiar. Signs of spring are all around us: flowers, baby birds, budding trees, green everywhere….maybe the same stimulation that brings about such drastic changes in plant and animal life is also inside us, drawing us into daydreams of travel, vacations, beaches, and mountains; these daydreams may cause a lack of focus and lethargic or bizarre behavior.  The phenomenon also causes us to be impatient with the same offbeat behavior in our students and colleagues in which we ourselves indulged.  In spring, I sometimes find myself more emotional than usual, quick tempered and grumpy.  But wait, spring is about renewal, rebirth, resurrection and celebration, all good, positive events right?  Perhaps, I should give more effort to being extra patient and kind to those around me during this time of year, and remember that peculiar wild spark (the onion effect) is present in all of us…when it’s spring.


Ephesians 4:1-2           

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love.


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