Thursday, September 30, 2010

Planting watermelon seeds

This morning, I asked the kids: "What is something you'd like to do to help the world?"

Jack (6): "Give them food and give away our clothes.  Planting trees for the world.  Buy people presents."

Simone (2): "Don't hit people."

Andrew (3): "Give people hugs."

About 5 minutes passed, and then Andrew said: "I want to plant watermelon seeds for people who loooove watermelon."

A few things from this exchange.  For one, Andrew and Jack have such clear love languages it's ridiculous.  My "gift-giving" child would literally give away the shirt on his back.  And Andrew ("physical touch") is pretty convinced that all of life's ails can be cured with a hug.  He might be right.

But the imagery of the watermelon seeds really grabbed me.  In some ways, that really does describe any humanitarian effort...or parenting effort, for that matter.  You go around putting these tiny little actions into place.... hoping that all the unknown variables might help them to grow into something larger, something useful, something beautiful.

But when you plant that seed, you don't really know what's going to happen with all the variables - sun, rain, soil.  It's a complex process that can't entirely be controlled.

In that imagery and in life, it really seems to be about the process of planting the seeds and doing what we can do.  What happens after that isn't really so important, compared with the effort and intent.