< Lessons From Flowers
17 March 2024

Editor's note: This story is one of the winning entries from the "Teach Us about Ukraine" writing contest sponsored by VOA Learning English and GoGlobal.

My name is Nadiia Kyba. I am from Cherkasy. And this is my essay.

They come in white, red, orange, brown, and yellow. They are the flowers in the gardens of Ukraine. And they are the lessons that I learned from childhood.

FILE - A woman poses for a picture at a flower exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine, August 21, 2015. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)
FILE - A woman poses for a picture at a flower exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine, August 21, 2015. (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

As a child, I remember plenty of snowdrops in my grandmother's garden. The fragile petals managed to blossom despite a heavy snowstorm. I wanted to bring the white flowers into the house. But I was not permitted to step on them or to pick them. My parents said, "We must all cherish the snowdrops. There is no use in withered flowers."

Little did I know back then that snowdrops were very rare, and they almost disappeared. I did not know it was more important to have them in the garden. Luckily, there were people who knew better. They created a reserve in Kholodnyi Yar to protect and care for those beautiful white flowers. They taught me to care for and protect even the smallest things.

I lived in a village where children always helped to take care of its flowerbeds. At school, our class weeded beds of roses nearby. It was great fun to be outdoors in the fresh air. Moreover, the roses looked splendid. They smelled sweet in the sun, and girls used to pin them in their hair. Even now, when I close my eyes, I can still smell the beautiful roses.

The first time I worked in a bed of roses, I prickled my hand with small but sharp thorns. I did not know that such beauty could hurt you. I understood then that it took much pain to gain something so beautiful.

That was one of the most important lessons in my life. If I want something, I must be ready to work hard for it. The roses taught me to be persistent and hardy. And the roses showed me "no pain, no gain."

What comes to your mind when you hear the word "garden"?

I see marigolds. I see orange, brown, and yellow marigolds. There are so many marigolds in the gardens of Ukrainians, that it is hard not to notice them. People sing songs about marigolds. They are everywhere, under the apple trees, in the strawberries, near the fences, in the flowerbeds, and even on the roads.

I used to plant marigolds with my mother. We gathered the seeds in autumn. Then we shared and exchanged the seeds with our friends or neighbors. I have warm memories of my family sitting on the bench in front of the marigold beds. My father told stories. And we chatted and joked.

Marigolds remind me of home and the best moments of our lives. They taught me to share and communicate, to be a daughter and a friend.

I'm Anna Matteo.


About the writer

Born to a big family in the small village of Dumantsi, Nadiia Kyba has lived all her life in the Cherkasy region of Ukraine. She began her teaching career in 2013 and has been working in the Khutory school since 2020.

Seeing her patience and thoughtfulness with children, her father inspired her to be a teacher. As a teacher, Nadiia believes in the power of failure and mistakes. She teaches her students to learn from them as they are opportunities to improve and grow. She believes this learning mindset is vital for their future lives.

网站首页 电脑版 回到页首