Cultivating success

See this old cultivator?

It was my dad’s, and I think it was his dad’s. And it may have even been his dad’s before him.

Now it’s mine, and it still works. I used it just today in planting my garden.

One of my early memories from the farm involved that old cultivator. And while I wish I had a picture of it from that time, I still can replay the episode from memory: The ground was hard to break up, and shale-y.  My dad wrestled and pushed the contraption from the back end, trying to engage its three little tines below the surface. Tied around its wooden frame was a used-up old rope that connected, dogsled-style, to me, my older sister, and my mom out there in the lead, as we yanked and stumbled ahead. Mush!

That was hard work for a little kid like me. And probably just as hard, proportionally, to the rest of us. But none of that mattered some 90 days later when we enjoyed fresh sweet corn on the cob for supper, with juicy chunks of vine-ripened tomatoes.  The harvest was worth it.

Sowing good seeds in good ground takes work. It also takes tending to their needs as they grow and mature.  And vigilance against killing frosts, choking weeds, and damaging storms. And time. And patience. And faith.

Examining that age-old cultivating process reveals several universal truths:

  • Humble beginnings hold mighty things possible.
  • Caretaking is an awesome, enabling responsibility—be it for seedlings, young minds, or noble causes.
  • Growth may be slow, secret and silent, yet given the proper nurturing, irresistibly advances toward a payback on that investment.

I’m grateful for the positive influences my father and grandfather exerted on my young life. I’ve appreciated their grown-up example of being responsible family men and leaders in their church and community. I’ve benefited from their protection, provision, and level-headed common sense.  Under their guidance, I’ve matured physically, mentally, spiritually and professionally. I thank them for their integrity and legacy. (And their old tools!)

What are you cultivating?

  • Be bold in turning over the sod of complacency.
  • Be thorough in tilling the soil of receptivity.
  • Be definite in planting honorable concepts.
  • Be attentive to their needs.
  • Be patient in their growing pains.
  • Be faithful in your duties.
  • Then, you’ll be blessed in your fruitfulness.

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Go plant something worthy!