Planting Idea Seeds

In the south, we have a saying we use when we want someone to think about something. We say, “I’m going to put the bee on you and let it start stinging.” However, when we know that we are going to be met with resistance we simply plant a seed. 

Are any of you gardeners? If so, I feel sure you already know where I’m going with this. We take a seed and plant it in the soil. Then we water it and wait patiently. Even though we cannot see things happening, we know a process starts in the darkness of the earth.  A tap root breaks free and pushes down deep in the dirt. Then the baby plant grows within the seed. Soon it breaks free of the shell, and then the earth lifting its first leaves to the sun and air. As it grows it gets stronger and then produces blooms, then fruit. All the while the plant is also making more seeds. Finally, it drops those seeds to start the process again.

Why am I writing this?

Because we do the same with people. Take my husband, Neal, for example. He needed a hobby that was good for his health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I suggested that he start riding a bike. He swatted that bee right off saying, “I don’t have time. I work from sun up to sun down.” Still, I knew he actually did have time. He couldn’t see it because of his high pressure job. So I planted a seed. “I know hon. That job of yours does take a lot of time, but it also takes a toll on you physically and mentally. I just thought this would be a great way for you to relieve some of that pressure.”

Okay, seed planted. Then I patiently waited for him to mention his need for exercise again and I gave that seed a little water, “You know hon, you could ride a bike on the weekends, or over lunch.” A little word of warning, when we plant a seed, if it doesn’t make its appearance as soon as we think it should, there is the temptation to scratch around the soil. This disturbs the root and often kills the plant. To scratch around the idea seed is perceived as nagging.

The tap root of an idea began working deep in Neal’s mind and he started looking at bikes online. Our son helped me nurture this seed idea by suggesting good bikes and asking Neal to ride with him. The next thing I knew that idea seed came to life. Neal purchased a bike and started riding on weekends. Then he actually found time to ride after work. He rides nearly 80 miles a week now. And, the seeds of cycling are scattering all around him. Several of the men who work for him are now cycling with him after work. They’ve formed a little group. Did I say little? That group grows each week.

Now my VP husband not only has better physical health (he’s losing weight, darned him. Now I have to do something) and better mental health, he also has friends (something most men do not think they need).

In all my years of sowing idea seeds, I’ve had a great crop. But I only sow good seed, ideas that not only benefit me but also those I invest in. Seeing others grow and flourish around you is like the Garden of Eden without the snake.

Just remember, plant the seed, water it at the right time, don’t nag, and wait patiently. Different seeds take different times to crack through a hard shell. I’m still waiting for some. I’m beginning to understand the faith of a farmer.




There is an interesting tree in Liss, England. It is hollow in the middle. Much like the one I imagined the Keebler elves live. You can actually go inside it, look up, and see the sky. It is empty, yet it lives. And it doesn’t  just live, it thrives as you can see in the picture.

I think of that tree every time I feel like I’ve failed or not measured up somehow. Sometimes I feel as hollow as that tree, and yet, I can—I must— thrive as it does.

How do I do that?

I have to make a decision. How am I going to use this “failure” experience? Am I going to let chew away at my soul, or am I going to use it as a learning tool? You know, failure can be an excellent tool. Not only can I learn from it but I can use this experience to connect and help others. Just like this tree, I should welcome others to walk inside my experiences and see that it is possible to thrive no matter what happens.

If you’ve failed, I’m so sorry. But now it is time to examine the experience, write down what you’ve learned, and from that vantage point—grow and thrive!