Planting seeds to ponder
Planting a seed is such a simple thing. And the next step is to invest as much — or as little — time as you want. The results vary according to your commitment. The weather affects things. Weeds affect things. Little hands that eagerly pull things from the ground a bit too early affect things.
In spite of those factors, planting a seed is simple and most things find a way. Some are prolific growers … lush and green and ruffled and delicate.
And some things …
… don’t do as well. They’re still usable. Still tasty. Still worth our meager efforts. And even when things don’t grow so well — like my beautiful pepper plants that are tall and strong but bear no fruit — there is satisfaction in the effort and a yearning to try again and do better.
John Gardner, secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson said,
“Whoever I am, or whatever I am doing, some kind of excellence is within my reach.”
The only way to achieve excellence is to make the effort. And then try again and again and again. The wanting to learn, the desire to do better than our last attempt, the satisfaction from knowing we’ve done our best work, that’s what matters — determination to give it our all and then try harder next time. It’s a belief in due diligence. Until we succeed.
Gardner said some timely things … things I pondered while plucking carrots from earth.
“Much [of our effort] today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.”
And I particularly appreciate this thought:
“The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life.”
And I leave you with this Gardner quote. Food for thought on a Wednesday:
“America’s greatness has been the greatness of a free people who shared certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitment is aimless and promptly self-destructive.”
We should all be planting seeds … and pulling weeds.