During the challenging times of the pandemic, my son and I decided one day to embark on what seemed like a pretty trivial endeavor – sprouting an apple seed. This small project unexpectedly unraveled a journey filled with profound insights on growth, teaching, and learning. I found that the lessons I learned from the metaphorical exploration of growing a seed resonated deeply with my work as an educator and a life-long student.

The process started simply, choosing the container we would use to plant the seed, filling it with soil, and placing the seed inside. Our daily ritual involved watering the seed and making sure it had enough sunlight by the window. This task, while mundane in appearance, was fascinating when seen through the eyes of my 4-year-old son. His initial expectation was immediate growth, like the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” with a sprout appearing almost magically overnight. This prompted discussions about patience and the natural pace of life. I found myself explaining that all growth, whether of a plant or a person, requires time, consistent effort, and the right environment.

As the days passed without any sign of growth, the impatience turned to dedication and anticipation. This was paralleled by my own reflections. In my career as an educator, I have seen similar patterns in students. The initial excitement often gives way to frustration when their results aren’t immediate. This experience with the seed became a poignant reminder of the importance of reinforcing perseverance and resilience in the face of delayed gratification.

After about ten days, a small, green bud broke through the soil. The joy and sense of accomplishment we both felt about this tiny sprout was maybe disproportionate, but it gave us a sign that we were doing something right. It was literally a living testament to our dedication. This moment of success became more than just botanical; it was a lesson in faith, that sustained effort will bring results, even when it seems not much is changing.

In time this experience sparked a deeper contemplation about the nature of potential and growth. An apple seed, in its small and unassuming form, contains the entire blueprint of a mighty apple tree. I see this as an analogy for human potential as well. Inside each of us are dormant abilities and strengths, often unrecognized or underappreciated. And like the seed, every person carries within them the promise of growth and the capacity to blossom into something greater than can be initially perceived.

The journey of the apple seed did not stop at the sprouting. As the plant grew, it faced new challenges. The initial container, which once seemed more than sufficient, became too restrictive for its expanding root system. This necessitated a transplant to a larger pot, symbolizing the need for change and adaptation for continued growth. This stage of the seed’s journey resonated with my understanding of personal and professional development. Just as the plant requires a new environment to thrive, individuals often need new challenges, experiences, and surroundings to reach their full potential.

In this light, my role as an educator became clearer. As a teacher I am much like the container for the seed – a facilitator of growth, providing the necessary support, resources, and environment. However, I also realized the importance of recognizing when a student has outgrown the ‘container’ provided. Here is a delicate balance between nurturing and letting go, allowing students to seek new environments where they can continue their growth and spread their wings. And what we accomplished together will remain in their roots. This realization was humbling and empowering, reinforcing my commitment to being an adaptable and responsive teacher.

Moreover, the metaphor of the apple seed extends beyond the realm of formal education. It applies to all forms of nurturing relationships – parenting, mentoring, friendships, and even personal commitment. Each of us, in some way, plays the role of both the gardener and the seed. We nurture others, helping reveal their inherent potential while embarking on our own personal journeys of growth and self-discovery.  Sometimes, we must let go of what holds us back from growth. I realized I had done the same when I left my homeland.

As the seedling grew into a small plant, it became a daily reminder of the slow yet powerful process of development. This observation brought to mind the often-overlooked aspect of growth – time. In our fast-paced world, where instant results are rewarded by the masses, the natural pace of growth can be felt as frustratingly slow. Yet, this is the essence of true and sustainable development, whether in nature, skills, knowledge, or character. It’s a gradual process that requires persistence, care, and a lot of patience.

This lesson was particularly poignant in light of a memory from my 10th grade year in high school. A teacher had labeled me as ‘hopeless’ and doubted my potential when she got mad at me for not listening to her lectures on “how I should be.” Her words could have shaped my self-perception in a very limiting way. However, I was lucky enough to be mentally mature at that age and saw myself as a seed full of potential. She failed to see it. My response to her, though straightforward, was, “You are in your 50s, and you have no hope. Nothing good has come out of you yet, and I trust that won’t change at this point in your life.” Believe it or not, I wasn’t punished after standing up to her.

Believe in yourself; that is the first condition for doing something amazing. Not everyone has the vision to see what lies in you.

Whatever your goal or resolution is, don’t expect instant results. Just plant the seed and allow it to grow.

Nature does not rush, yet everything gets done at the right time.

Do something amazing,

Tsahi Shemesh
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts

1 comment

  1. I absolutely loved this true story and aptly used as a metaphor for growth and patience. I for one dont have the patience to wait and over the years i have made bad decisions because of haste. I totally agree in the importance of “planting a seed”, patiently waiting for it to grow and nurturing it to survive. We cant rush things. Also in most cases, anything done in a hurry is haphazardly unsafe and isnt of quality. There is a reason why products that are created with deft hands and also years to build are given more value and people are willing to spend hard earned money to purchase and keep because they know it will stand the test of time and last for many many years. I think the same principle also applies in us as humans. I went to school for a very long time. Learned so many things and yet i quit 8 months shy from being a doctor. There is a bit of regret in my decision although my happinesss right now cannot compare to the frustration i felt while pursuing a passion that actually wasn’t mine but my parents. But the years i spent in medical school has kind of transformed me to be more patient. It was the best environment that has made me appreciate the reason behind why we need to take a step by step approach in learning and eventually executing the lessons we learned. From theory to practical, From books to actually helping patients, hands on. I think your role as our trainer/teacher is the same. You are helping us learn the basics, mold us into the right fashion so we will be well equipped with the knowledge of how we can better protect ourselves. But before all that, we also need to be patient in learning all these so we can avoid injury, build our core strength and also understand the principles behind why certain stances are useful and others are not. We will need the sunlight, care and water to grow into independent and strong “trees” one day and you are instrumental in our growth. However, we also need to be reminded this isnt going to be an instant affair but a commitment that could last years but in the end we know it is definitely going to be worth it. Thank you for this wonderful post .

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