So much can come from a seed

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By Evelyn R. Luab

Light Sunday

Saturday, May 17, 2014

WE ALWAYS refer to the giant oak that sprouts from a tiny seed when we speak of big results coming from an idea. In the Philippines, we refer to our ipil-ipil trees.

It is so easy to grow them. I remember bringing a group of students to plant trees while I was still teaching at St. Theresa’s College. We went up the mountains to the land of Alit Solon. When the seeds became trees, so many people around Alit’s land benefited from the work of the students.

One time, we trusted the late father of my husband to bring the seeds to the farm in Bato, Samboan. He was told to plant them to serve as a fence around the land. Maybe because of his age, he simply threw the seeds around the edge of the land when it rained. Several months later, we got our fence, albeit irregular in shape, but still a fence. You should see a full-grown ipil-ipil tree when it is filled with fireflies on a dark night. All of my children have applauded this sight. Praise God for that beautiful experience of seeing Mother Nature at its best.


Today we have many examples of the results of an inventor’s creation. Even the tiny paper clips, which I use very often amaze me.

My sharing today, however, will be about the bad seed spread by people who have nothing better to do except disparage another person’s reputation. I know of a beautiful relationship that could have bloomed into a bond of strong friendship, but which got destroyed because of a tiny seed of meanness.

The lady concerned was told that the guy was already involved with someone else. He, according to the imp, definitely was not at all interested in her. That ugly seed took root and from then on, things were never the same between two lovely people who really could have enjoyed a beautiful relationship.

Sometimes even our concept of someone’s character can be blemished by a naughty comment like, “She really looks down on the poor.” This could be a personal observation. The person talked about may have been someone with beautiful values.

Even real estate magnates are hit by a side comment like, “Their buildings are below standard. They use cheap materials.” If only common sense would prevail. Who is the contractor who would want to have his building topple in so short a time after it was put up?

Sometimes a girl’s suitor is deflected from his courtship because a member of his family says: “You intend to marry her? Her mother had a history of nervous break downs. Mental disorder may be in her genes!”

Some schools are also open to potshots from disgruntled parents. “Don’t send your children to that school. The nuns can deny your children graduation.”

Now what about the power of the seed of suggestion? It can also be damaging depending on its purpose. Let’s take the case of a meddling mother-in-law who wants her son only for herself. She tells her son: “She never loved you at the start. Now she’s going to Manila with her best friend. She just wants to have a good time without you. I’ve always felt that she is a flighty woman.” You have to be a very stable son to see through your mother’s ploy and not to let her words affect you.

Seeds of suggestion can easily destroy your trust in your helpers or in your drivers. It takes only one visitor to tell you that “you have a lazy driver who drives so slowly in order for him to get overtime pay.” It also only takes one guest to say, “Your helper is a grouch. She serves with a frown on her face.” Yet with due respect to your faithful employees, you can always get to the bottom of the matter and investigate. Nine chances out of 10, the claim was exaggerated.

Actually many of us have learned our lesson the hard way by listening to the seeds of suggestion dropped our way. I lost a special friend because of seeds of distrust dropped on my friend’s lap but the allegations were really untrue.

So how do we avoid being at the losing end of these bad seeds? We choose our friends with care. We take all seeds of doubt with a grain of salt. We recall the strength of our friendship and protect the bond from harm.

Good seeds we treasure. Bad seeds we discard. Once we are able to discern, our bond of friendship can be as strong as the oak true and as beneficial as our ipil- ipil trees.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 18, 2014.


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