Stages of Growth

During the spring planting season as a child, I remember thinking harvest seemed so far away.  “I will be in the second grade by the time the rice will be ready to harvest!  How can Dad spend all that time thinking about one thing?!”  All the stages of growth seemed long and slow.  It felt like the crops would never be ready to harvest.  

There Must be a Better Way

In our microwave society, it’s easy to think that every process can be done quicker if we just put our minds to it.  It sometimes seems as though our knowledge of science should be able to provide short cuts so we can get to the finished product faster.  

 

 young soybeans

young soybeans

You Can't Be Where You're Not

But faster doesn't mean better.  Growth takes time.  There’s no way around it.  Whether it’s physical growth in a plant or intellectual growth in a person, you just can’t be where you’re not ready to be.  When learning a new skill or beginning a new project or entering a new stage of parenthood, it often requires every ounce of mental energy we have to think through decisions.  Nothing comes easily because we don’t have the experience and confidence under our belt to anticipate the results.  Patience is required for ourselves and others to live through situations or get to know new clients or fail at a few tries before we can move forward in confidence.  

 stages of cotton:  blooms white,  the bloom turns pink, the boll develops, cotton opens the boll

stages of cotton:  blooms white,  the bloom turns pink, the boll develops, cotton opens the boll

Every Stage Has Value

We, like plants, have to go through all the stages of development.  A cotton plant can’t skip the blooming stage because that’s what brings out the bolls of cotton.  Likewise, a young athlete can’t skip the strengthening stage because that’s when strong muscles and discipline are developed through the hard work.  

 

 a developing cotton boll

a developing cotton boll

Don't Rush the Process

If a farmer tried to harvest cotton before the bolls were fully developed, it would be a mess.  His time and money would be wasted driving the cotton picker over the field getting no results and destroying the maturing plants.  If a gardener tried to harvest cucumbers before they were fully developed, it would be a missed opportunity.  He would waste his time picking off the young produce to get a small, hard, tasteless vegetable that no one wanted to eat.   We can’t rush the process.  Even though these are obvious sceneries, I sometimes find myself rushing the journey through seasons of maturing in my life and the lives of others in an equally absurd way.  

 harvesting cotton

harvesting cotton

Multiplication for All

After the plant has sprouted, established a deep root system, grown a strong stalk, and developed fruit, it’s time to mature for harvest.  The multiplication process benefits many. 

 harvesting soybeans

harvesting soybeans

It’s the same for people.  After we step into a new project or season of life, learn new processes to establish a strong root system, and weather storms to gain confidence, we are ready to produce fruit.  We are ready to multiply our efforts to benefit others.  

 kids playing on a truck full of harvested rice

kids playing on a truck full of harvested rice

Stretch Your Brain

The hard work invested in the process pays off in the end.  Patience is rewarded.  Crops bear fruit and multiply and so do people.  We are never too young or too old to start new projects or tackle new skills.  It's good for our brains to be stretched and challenged-- to remember how to learn something new.  And all those around you benefit from the overflow!  What new things are you learning?  Is there something out there you have always wanted to master?  Take the first step, grow through the process and enjoy the benefits.  You can do it!