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,
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts