My mother is my greatest teacher. I have studied at two great universities, but the most profound lessons are those I learned from my mother. Sadly, I don't get the opportunity to learn much from her these days, living half-way across the world from her. But she always tries, in her tireless and smiling way, to continue teaching her 48-year old daughter.
Yesterday, I sent her a photo of a coconut seed I found on my many walks along the beach. I mentioned that my daughter G is doing a project on hydroponics and I think the coconut will be a good example. After all, a coconut seed can float across entire oceans and take root halfway across the world, to begin a new life and possibly a new dynasty. "Isn't that a lesson in self-sufficiency?" I asked my mum.
"The thing about seeds," my mum began. "Is that there is so much hope in every one of them. When I see a little brown seed, I see the promise within."
My mum told me about the millions of trees beneath the grounds we walked on in our beloved New Forest. She told me that they were all waiting patiently to grow. Some seeds wait for a hundred years, but we don't see them, as we are more entranced by the cathedral of trees above.
"Every tree had once been a seed that was given the right opportunity," she said. "Next time you have a seed in your hand, Jac, look at the thick carapace. Walnut, mustard seed, whatever you use in your cooking and baking. The shell is to stop the expansion of the life within. It is a protective shell. But scratch the surface, give it a good environment, and any seed will grow. You will see young life spreading up towards the sun. There was once a lotus seed from China that grew after two thousand years of waiting. Can you imagine that, Jac?"
I thought about what my mum said all night. It is indeed corollary of human beings. We have a tough carapace that stops us growing. That carapace was probably necessary to protect us. It grows thicker with each successive hurt. But scratch it, let the light in, nurture the frail seedling, and et voila, you see the blooming of someone's Inner Self.
"There is no job more important than being a gardener, Jac," my mum said, and across the miles, I can feel her smile on Skype. I knew she wasn't talking about seeds and trees then.
My magical mum❤
First published in www.raisinghappystrongkids.com