Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
– Mother Teresa –
I once taught in a small private school located within the charming confines of a three-story stone mansion. Each morning at nine o’clock all the students gathered in the Great Room for a metaphysical warm-up in preparation for the day. Fifty-three children, ranging in age from three to seven years, sat on child-sized colorful chairs or in sun-flooded patterns on the thick carpet.
Each bright face was illuminated by positive thoughts and feelings as he or she eagerly anticipated the morning’s songs, meditations and exploration into yet another metaphysical cranny of the mind.
One morning the headmistress made an announcement to all the children gathered. “Today we begin a great experiment of the mind, of your mind.” She held up two small ivy plants, each potted in an identical container. “Here we have two plants,” she continued. “Do they look the same?”
All the children nodded solemnly. So did I, for, in this way, I was also a child.
“We will give the plants the same amount of light, the same amount of water, but not the same amount of attention,” she said. “Together we are going to see what will happen when we put one plant out in the kitchen, on the counter, away from our attention, and the other plant right here in this room on the mantel.”
She placed one plant on the white wooden ledge, then led the children en masse to the kitchen where she sat the other plant on the white counter. Afterward she led the parade of wide-eyed youngsters back to their places in the Great Room.
“Each day for the next month, we shall sing to our plant on the mantel,” she said. “We will tell it with words how much we love it, how beautiful it is. We will use our good minds to think good thoughts about this plant.”
One of the smallest children jumped to her feet.
“But, Ma’am, what about the plant out there?” She pointed a stubby finger toward the kitchen. The headmistress smiled at all her charges. “We will use the kitchen plant as the ‘control’ in our great experiment. How do you think it will work?”
“We won’t speak to it?”
“Not even a whisper.”
“We won’t send it any good thoughts?”
“That’s right. And then we’ll see what happens.”
Four weeks later my novice eyes were as wide and disbelieving as the children’s. The kitchen plant was leggy and sick-looking, and it hadn’t grown at all. But the Great Room plant, which had been sung to and swaddled in positive thoughts and words, had increased threefold in size with dark succulent leaves that fairly vibrated with energy when addressed with song, word or thought.
In order to prove the experiment – and also dry the tears of the tender-hearted among us who feared for the life of the other plant – the kitchen ivy was rescued from its solitary confinement and brought to the Great Room to join the other ivy on the mantel, but at the opposite end.
Within three weeks, the second plant had caught up with the first ivy.
Within four weeks, they could not be recognized, one from the other.
I took this lesson to heart and made it my own:
All things grow … with love.
Photo credit: rrei320
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