We shrink or grow according to the soil we find ourselves in and the nurturing we receive.
WE ARE products of our environments. We wither away or blossom and grow depending on the soil we are in and the nurturing we receive.
This is what I witnessed at last week's capping ceremony of the Hastings Intermediate's student academies and school council. The school hall that evening was packed floor to rafters with students, teachers, parents and supporters.
Student after student marched on stage with their heads held high to receive their cap, jacket or other memento signifying each of their attributes and hard work that has been recognised by their school leadership as worthy of not only recognition but advanced development in an academy.
I had been invited by principal Andrew Shortcliffe to attend as guest speaker that evening and it was my turn to take the stage. I never really know what I'm going to say whenever I speak but I usually revert to - or incorporate - the one thing that I do know, my life.
I told the story about how I was on a break at work one day and was staring out the window daydreaming when a pot plant on the windowsill came into view.
It had caught my attention because, two weeks earlier, it had been a shrivelled-up, dead- looking thing on the office floor. I had pruned the dead leaves, watered it then placed it on the windowsill for some light and air.
Now, two weeks on, it had grown about a foot tall, climbing up the wall with green shoots and buds all over it.
Noticing its new state, this thought hit me - that plant has grown so much over the last two weeks, the only thing restricting it from growing any further is the container it's in.
Take it out of the container, plant it outside where it's roots can spread and stretch in the soil and it can grow exponentially bigger.
As soon as that thought hit me, another one did. I believe it was divine guidance from the good man upstairs, but whether it was or simply too much coffee, here's what I heard: "Jacoby, you are like that plant, you've grown in this role but you have the potential to grow so much more, the only thing that is limiting you at this stage is this container, or job that you are in."
We, the job and I, had served each other well for a season, however, when this season was over I began to pursue other opportunities and places where I could contribute. Since then, I have been entrusted with my governance roles with the council, health board and EIT.
I'm far from perfect or a guru in this field but it's definitely soil in which I can grow and cultivate so as to be able to contribute back towards our community for which I'm grateful.
We are products of our environment. We shrink or grow according to the soil we find ourselves in and the nurturing we receive. It was evident on this evening at Hastings Intermediate that the soil of the homes and school and the nurturing received by the teachers and parents contributed much to the development and strength of those students on the stage that night.
This is but one school. I know we have a plethora of other amazing schools and homes that provide rich environments of growth and support and I'm proud to live in a community that hosts such. This is a tribute to you all.
#Jacoby Poulain is a Hastings District Council Flaxmere Ward councillor and a Hawke's Bay District Health Board member.