Going back generations, my family has been farmers. I, however, have never been a farmer. Considering my luck with house plants, this is probably a good thing. Last Saturday I had dinner with a group of friends. While in the midst of a conversation with my friends father a revelation hit me, I might be a farmer after all. If not a farmer, at least a harvester. I have the great fortune to harvest a very important crop that others before me have planted. Best part? I do not even have to wear overalls and work in the field from dawn until dusk.
When you plant a crop the time between planting and harvest varies on many factors. Each plant has its own length to maturity. This is also influenced by the environment, the soil condition and many other factors. This holds true for the crop that I am harvesting. Is it wheat? Corn? Bananas? No. The crop I am talking about harvesting is thoughts and life lessons. Does this sound familiar to you? Someone shares some knowledge with you and you dismiss it. Years later as you learn and develop, you find yourself realizing something that was told to you years prior.
Vivid in my mind are lessons I heard either directly from, or by listening to conversations between my great uncle and grandfather. As a young man at the time I recall thinking things such as, “These old men don’t have a clue about how the world is now.” or just disagreeing with opinions and thoughts that to me seemed terribly out of date. My grandfather has been gone over 20 years now, my great uncle even more so. Still, to this very day, and even the night of the conversation with my friends father, I am still learning from both of them. There are bits of knowledge that I could only come to understand with years of experience and going through some things on my own. If I would’ve listened a little more closely, I would have probably had to go through a lot less in my life. These ‘seeds’ that were planted over 20 years ago are finally being harvested. It is a shame they are not here to see the benefit of the wisdom they passed along. I guess the soil they put them in, or my mind at the time, just wasn’t ready to let them grow.
This lead me to two very important epiphanies. First, never dismiss knowledge that is shared with you. It may not make sense to you now, but years later you may wish you had listened closer. This seems to be especially true if the knowledge comes from a party that is older than you. They have seen more and been through things you may not have even thought of yet. Second, never underestimate the power of your own seeds. There are people I do my best to offer little seeds of wisdom that I have gathered through my life and they seem to fall on barren soil. It can be frustrating to see people making some of the same mistakes you have made in life, especially people you care about, and wanting to help them avoid the same painful consequences you did. What I have learned through the experience I described to you in this blog, is to still plant away. You may be dead and gone by the time your seeds are harvested, but what a great legacy to leave. Plant seeds of knowledge, kindness and love wherever you go. They may grow and be harvested all at different times and you may not even be around to see it, but grow they will.