Being A Late Bloomer

I was a late bloomer.  It’s a term that is mostly used for flowers today.  Way back when, children who didn’t seem to grow as quickly as their peers were often called “late bloomers”.  I struggled to read.  I sucked my thumb until I was in third grade.  I clung to my Mother.

My garden is sprinkled with yellow sundrops, a flower that blooms early in the summer.  Before opening, they show their red encasement.  Going from red to yellow is a beautiful metamorphosis.  Most are now gone, yet as I dashed by my garden last week, I noticed one.  This one.

The flower still was still encased in red.  This little guy was all alone and had not yet opened.  Most of his brothers and sisters were long gone.  I was pulled back into my early childhood looking at this solitary little flower.  The feelings of being scared at something new swept over me.  Memories, and then a great wave of understanding.  I stayed with this little guy a while.  We talked.  Well, I talked.  He seemed to listen.

The next day I returned.  This is what I saw:

A bloom at last!  Like me, a late bloomer.  But, oh how beautiful, as if all that extra time had given him more beauty and strength than his brothers and sisters.  That’s exactly how I felt.

As years went by in my childhood, somehow my experiences seemed particularly memorable.  They were important.  I was living life with more wisdom and bigger eyes than many others.  All of those experiences seemed to pour into my heart.  I became a preschool teacher.  I began to tell stories and then to write.  Somehow I knew that my yellow bloom was a hallmark for me.

When I teach young children, I… understand.  I know those late bloomers simply need love and encouragement, and time.  A favorite picture book written years ago is Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus.

The simple and gentle text carries the message of giving children the time they need to grow.

Leo couldn’t do anything right.  He couldn’t read.  He couldn’t write.  He couldn’t draw.   He was a sloppy eater.  And, he never said a word.  “What’s the matter with Leo?” asked Leo’s father.  “Nothing,” said Leo’s mother.  “Leo is just a late bloomer.”

Children need to hear stories that reflect how they feel.  So do adults.  That’s what connects a reader and a writer, a teacher and a child.  Every child is different, yet they all need the same thing.  Like the sundrop that needs rain and sun, children need love and encouragement.  Roots.  Perhaps those late bloomers have stronger roots.  I do.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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44 Responses to Being A Late Bloomer

  1. beetleypete says:

    That’s a lovely comparison with the flower, Jennie.
    I was very much the opposite. I bloomed early, and perhaps burnt out due to that fact. I left school without going on to university, and missed out on so much because of that.
    Late blooming is to be preferred, I think.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Pete. An early bloomer like yourself just has different memories and experiences. Many thanks, and best to you!

  2. Ritu says:

    Wonderful thoughts Jennie!

  3. I love, love, love this post. If you take your time you usually make the best decisions and come out on top.Kudos Jennie. Well penned. Hugs. xo

  4. Tina Frisco says:

    Such a lovely post, Jennie, that I read it twice. It’s one of those ‘feel good’ things 🙂 ♥

  5. MC Clark says:

    I was also a late bloomer. Maybe that’s why I’ve never forgotten how it feels to be a child/teenager/young adult trying to navigate life and figure where one fits in…and I hope I never do.
    Great post, Jennie!

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I can identify with the spirit of this post. Everybody needs a chance to thrive.

  7. Micki Peluso says:

    Lovely. I was an early bloomer with the problems that can bring too.

  8. This was a wonderful post!!!! Sometimes many of us think we are still waiting to see if we will bloom. My daughter was a late bloomer and it was worth the wait. I like the idea of a book about late bloomers. There are so many wonderful books out there, I could live in a bookstore and never get them all read.

  9. lisan1128 says:

    A great post. Loved this sentence: “But, oh how beautiful, as if all that extra time had given him more beauty and strength than his brothers and sisters. ” We can’t expect that all of our students will develop, learn, and grow at the same rate. Yet that is how they are measured…

  10. I remember that book, Jennie. 🙂 I never worried about late-bloomers and often told parents to relax and enjoy their children where they were. Growing happy, loved kids is more important than the date they learn to color within the lines. ❤

    • Jennie says:

      You are exactly right, Diana. No coloring within the lines in my classroom! It is hard for parents, and I often feel it is equally important to guide and teach them so they can enjoy the moment with their child. That’s a big reason why I began my blog.

  11. frenchc1955 says:

    This is a lovely and wonderful post! It is important for adults to understand that children develop at their own paces.

  12. ren says:

    …and just maybe, the blossom opened ‘early’ because you took time to ‘love’ it.

  13. swamiyesudas says:

    Hello, Jennie, glad to meet a kindred Soul. …I am a (very) late bloomer too. Joined the seminary at the age of 28, where my companions were getting ordained at 25! …And today, at the age of about 70, I find that I have not yet bloomed! …God has Much More in store for me. Praise the Lord. Much Love to You, my Dear Friend. 🙂

  14. reocochran says:

    This is such a special, old fashioned book and a perfect current perspective, Jennie! xo ❤
    I’m glad you saw the Sundrop flower and it led you to sharing its and your own stories.

  15. What a beautiful tribute! It’s important to remember that while a certain amount of testing and evaluation needs to occur, we can’t do this to the point that kids feel they aren’t measuring up. If they are trying and learning and growing, they need encouragement more than anything else.

    I have an autistic grandson, so I feel this very strongly. Someday, little Luke will make his mark on the world. In his own time. 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Cathleen! You are so right on testing and measuring up. Yes, little Luke will make his mark on the world, in his own time. 🙂

  16. I also think late bloomers have stronger roots. Lovely post, Jennie! 😄🌹

  17. Aw, what a great post. I love how you had a chat with the little late-blooming flower.

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