photo by Sushobhan Badhai  via Unsplash

The Growth Process

June 2021

by jamie beeson

I think I'll pass the 4th grade this year. The science curriculum was a challenge, but I made it. I figured out the moon phases and can describe photosynthesis in full detail. I was my boys' teacher this year, and found myself studying a topic before teaching it the following week. We were all schooled. We all passed. At least that's what my grade book shows. 

Elementary science got me thinking, I learned more than how a pollinator pollinates and how many layers of atmosphere there are. My brain works by creating word pictures, analogies, and metaphors. I can find a theme in everything, and everything becomes a teaching topic. Botany gave me some great analogies and life lessons.  

You can't always see progress while it's in process. For that reason, I bought a clear planter designed to see root growth before a sprout becomes visible above the soil. The seed goes into the dark soil, making its home for the next several days (or weeks). We water it, put it in the sun, watch, and wait. Pretty soon, tiny white roots begin making their way down through the dark. Something is happening! After time, we see a tiny little sprout of green above the surface. Compared to the root growth, the little seedling is teeny tiny. After continued watering and sunning, the seedlings carried on in their vertical climb north and pushed out some leaves. Eventually, the fruit of our labor is visible.   

The Seed 

When we dumped the seeds out of the packet and into our hands, they almost required a set of tweezers to pick them up. We finally settled for a pinch of seeds in one spot versus one seed. More than one seed in a spot can crowd others out and cause slower growth or death of the other seed. And isn't that like you and me when we're trying to grow? When we begin something new (a new habit, routine, job, relationship...), it requires a certain amount of attention, nourishment, space, and an ideal growth environment. Weeds and competing plants can choke it out. It's probably best, and I'd argue, it's how we are wired to grow one thing at a time for optimal results. 

Planted is part of the Process 

Just as the seed enters the dark soil, and we don't see anything for a while, that’s how it is when we first begin; we can’t see anything. It feels like nothing is happening and our growth and progress remain hidden beneath the surface. But that's the point. Roots must come before fruit, and they take time to grow. Roots help anchor the plant. They also are the pathways for nourishment, life, and the ability to sustain the fruit. If you don't have the roots and foundations laid for your new habit, skill, or relationship, then it likely won't stick around. Habits are built one step at a time repeated for an extended period. That repeating process creates the pathways for it to continue on autopilot. 

Roots to Fruit 

The fruit we want to see; the progress and change we want to measure, comes after the work of creating roots. What are the foundational roots needed to sustain healthy fruit? It starts with doing the work of who you need to become to see the outcome. It's figuring out why it's essential you learn and grow and then putting growth steps into action—the why behind what keeps you working past your ruts. Rushing the process and trying to get a quick, easy, and painless route to fruit can limit the strength and sustainability of what you're after. In other words, there isn't a fast and easy bypass for the growth process. 

Truth about Germination (the growth process) 

  • It takes time. 
  • You can’t always see progress while it’s in process. 
  • Daily nourishment of the seed will produce the tree you’re after. Keep watering and sunning. 
  • You need an anchor. You need to know why your growth is important. 
  • You need to grow in who you are to do all you want to do. 
  • The right environment is critical to your growth. 
  • Don't overcrowd the seed you plant. Focus on one small thing at a time, and you can reap an entire harvest...if you patiently begin by sowing and growing roots. 

Here's my science teacher (and life coach) advice: Make sure you plant yourself in a clear planter to notice and celebrate the roots. Something is happening!

Originally printed in the June 2021 issue of Simply Local Magazine

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