I listened to a podcast recently where the speaker related an experience he had had when he got the chance to address an audience of inmates at a prison for a couple of hours. After relating the tale, he talked about an analogy that really resonated with me: seeds and switches. It is on this analogy that I would like to do a little reflection today. Let me explain the analogy to you first, though.
A lot of things in life happen in the same way that a seed grows into a plant: slowly. Seeds take time to grow, develop, and change. It doesn't happen instantly. It works better if the conditions are right. Things like relationships, education, and situations in which we try to better ourselves are examples of this analogy in real life.
On the other hand, our lives are also consumed with switches. You push a button and your device is turned on. You click the icon and the internet pops up. If it takes more than two seconds, you get annoyed because it's not going fast enough. Hungry? No problem. Grab something from the refrigerator, throw it in the microwave for a minute, and PRESTO. The food is ready to eat.
Sometimes the reason why we get so frustrated with ourselves or our situations is because we are treating a seed as if it were a switch. We try to make things happen more quickly, instantly if possible, but some things just don't go that way. Sometimes, instead of getting instant results, we have to have patience. We have to slow down and take joy in what progress we do see.
As a teacher, I see this a lot in my life. It is actually really easy for me to forget that, even though I have read Frankenstein six or seven times, this is still the first time my students have read it. They don't know the story like I do, and it takes them some time to get used to the language, characters, and plot line. Or, even more common in my life, just because I know what I mean when I say "main clause" and "fragment" and other such grammar terms, that doesn't mean that anyone else who isn't an English teacher knows what I'm talking about! Learning these things takes time - it's not an instantaneous knowledge imparted from my brain to someone else's...no matter how much I want it to be.
So, I've been trying to sit back and enjoy the ride a little more. It's easy for me to be frustrated at the end of the school year (two weeks until graduation day, and 4 weeks until we leave for our annual trek to the other side of the world!), but the frustrations are definitely not beneficial to me. So I'm going to spend a bit of time reflecting and pinpointing what seeds I've been trying to make into switches....and see if I can't take the seeds and appreciate them for what they are instead. How about you?