Don’t Drown Your Seed

How to change people’s minds.

Briggs, my six year old son, went to a summer school camp this year. At the end of camp he came home with a little plastic cup of soil with three baby plants sprouting from the dirt. He also came home with a tiny pipette and he told me he would be responsible for watering his plants. “Just one pipette each day!” he said. 

Dutifully for the next week he would go fill up his pipette and water his sprouts. He’d imagine what big plants they would grow into and how beautiful his sunflowers would be when they were full grown. 

Someone in our house, who’s identity will remain protected, didn’t trust a six year old to water a plant and wanting to make sure the plants lived, watered them daily as well by running them under the faucet. 

It wasn’t long before the sprouts started to wilt, then turn an off-green color, and eventually die. 

As a family we had drowned the sunflower seeds by watering them too much, because we hadn’t trusted and believed that just one little pipette delivered by the loving hands of a six year old would be enough. 

It got me thinking about how every plant is different. 

We have a bald cypress growing right in the water in our pond, a cypress wouldn’t have been drowned by all that water. 

We have succulents in a planter on the front porch, I’m not sure I’ve watered them all summer. One pipette a day would have been too much for them. 

We have a corn plant in the bathroom that had to spend a week outside while we were renovating, the tips of its leaves turned brown and it nearly died. It was too hot and too dry for it. 

Plants are a lot like people, we’re all different and require different things to make us grow and thrive. Thoughts and ideas are a lot like seeds. Often they start with the tiniest seed. That tiny seed of a thought gets watered by the friends we spend time with, the news channel we watch, the information we seek out, and the world we live in. 

In this day and age, we often want to change people’s thoughts. Maybe we want them to see that Black Lives Matter, maybe we want them to notice that most police are good people, maybe we want them to believe that we need to lower taxes, or eat healthier. 

A few weeks after Briggs’ sunflowers drowned a friend of mine engaged in a “debate” on Facebook with people who thought differently than her. She planted a seed with her initial opinion and then turned on the hose and flooded the garden. The little seed washed right out of the garden and down the drain and the people who thought differently than her did not change their thoughts. 

It was clear to me from where I was standing that she drowned her seed. 

If you want someone to change their thoughts there is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that says throwing down the gauntlet is not the best approach. 

You can read about that here https://www.animalsamplified.com/all-doom-and-no-light/

So how do you change people’s minds? You stop trying and instead you plant a tiny little seed and get to know the person, just like you would a plant. What kind of soil does it need? How much light? How much water? What temperature? Humidity? 

Some of us love information and enjoy a good debate like a water loving bald cypress. Others are a little prickly just like the succulents on my porch. Some need the right environment to grown like the corn plant in my bathroom. 

If you want to change someone’s mind, don’t drown your seed. Get to know the plant. 

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