I can’t seem to get the seed sowing image out of my mind. I’m thinking about how you plant a little itty bitty seed in the ground, and some time later, you’ll see beans, watermelons, or even a mustard tree. Remember that scripture about the mustard seed of faith growing and growing? Anyway, words can act as a catalyst for good or ill depending on what they are and how they’re spoken. For instance, if a child forgets to bring his coat home, and his mother good naturedly says, “Now, why does that not surprise me?” as she gives him a hug, he doesn’t feel quite as irresponsible and slack as he would if she’d said it with sarcasm. 

Phrases and even single words can sting, can “cut to the quick,” and as we’ve all learned, once they’re spoken, they’re out…never to be retrieved. Even if the speaker says, “I’m sorry,”  the hurt is still there, lying dormant beneath the soil (in a manner of speaking). Why not speak words of cheer, love, and kindness? Plant seeds of peace, harmony and encouragement. Something I’ve found particularly odious is parents comparing children to one another. The one who comes up short feels like a loser, and the “darling” feels more pressure to succeed. Either that, or she or he could become arrogant and prideful.

While I’m on this jag, I might as well mention the words we speak to ourselves. Whether positive or negative, the thoughts take root and grow. Thinking, “I’m too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too dull, too _______ is not healthy. Why do it to yourself?  Say instead, “Who I am is who I am, a daughter or son of a loving Creator who endowed me with certain attributes, propensities, and aptitudes.” I’m not suggesting that we don’t all have flaws and shortcomings because we do. I’m just saying that we don’t need to focus on them to the exclusion of the good stuff.

Sow some seeds of tolerance, love, encouragement, and kindness and watch them take root. Oh, and do the same for yourself; cut yourself some slack and remember who you are.  To help you in this endeavor, I’m posting one of Van Gogh’s sowers.

Vincent van Gogh's The Sower, 1888