Drastic Pruning for Improved Results
1) This rose flowers on previous growth, so I had to wait for it to finish blooming before pruning. Don't be too eager to rush into the next unit. Make sure kids understand before moving on.
2) Branches of the rose bush had grown thick but in the wrong direction, requiring that they be completely cut back. I need to do a better job of directing the younger shoots while they are still pliable. Proverbs 22:6 reminds us "train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
3) The arbor will look scraggly for a season or two until everything fills in. We don't often see the fruits of our efforts in students until years later, but those words of blessing from former students are the most precious.
Also, on a personal note, our lives have gone through a drastic pruning this spring. While I am still teaching, it will be at a different school, younger grades, and a new curriculum. Right now I feel how the rose arbor looks, a bit exposed and reeling from the shock of change. But there is no reason to be discouraged or anxious. As the gardener, I have a plan for the arbor rose, a plan to help it bloom even better and healthier. God reminds us that He too has "plans for (my) welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11