I was born to wonderful parents and I am often reminded of their many lessons.
My Dad was born in 1897 and he was in his early 30’s when the Great Depression hit our country. He had experienced the ‘highs’ of being a young businessman during the Roaring Twenties’ and then experienced the lows of the 30’s.
Looking back on it, I feel certain that from those experiences came many of his practical teachings for my sister, two brothers and me.
Most of those teachings came through our simple lifestyle. Our family car and pick-up truck had no radio much less an air conditioner. If we started whining about there not being a radio in the car, Dad would say, “If you want some music , then sing to yourself” or another of his favorites, “Want air? Then roll down the windows!” As you can imagine, we never had a TV.
Our home was a concrete floors and concrete block structure with no insulation that consisted of a couple of bedrooms and a small family room that were attached to the small country restaurant that Mom and Dad operated. The family’s kitchen was the kitchen for the restaurant; the restaurant dining room was our family’s dining room. May I say we lived “bare basics?”
When I was about 11 years old, dad thought that we should become Christmas Tree farmers and he purchased 3,000 cedar seedlings. Because “idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” my rambunctious siblings and I were charged with tilling the soil, planting the trees, hand mowing around them, and hand fertilizing each tree over the years of their growth. This was quite time consuming for active children who wanted to play! I remember at the time feeling that he was being hard on us; taking away play time. But, as life unfolded, I was to find out, first hand, how beneficial this farming exercise was!
When I was 16 years old, my father suddenly died of a heart attack.. His death changed things greatly for our family and hurt us financially. No longer would it be practical, or safe, for my mother to operate the restaurant by herself. So, mother closed the restaurant and took a job at a clothing factory. To help make ends meet, I sold drinks at the Gator football games and ice cream at the Gator basketball games.
When the holidays came along that year, the Christmas trees I’d planted and tended to as a child were ready to sell. I put up a sign and sold them on the farm and also cut a number of them and took them into Gainesville consigning them to various grocery stores. This was a huge boon for us financially.
It wasn’t until then that I could truly appreciate what my dad had done for me. It showed me at an early age that you really do reap what you sow. I’m certain that this experience influenced me to become an entrepreneur.
But “reaping what you sow” can mean many things beyond agriculture. For me, that phrase means that eventually my prior actions will become manifested, whether it be good or bad.
For example: if I am in a bad mood, that negative energy will adversely affect those around me thus I have multiplied that bad energy many times over. And, when we have a bad mood around our children and loved ones, aren’t they then learning that it’s acceptable to come home and heap a bad mood on their loved ones? And, what if you get angry and are disrespectful to an employee? That action shows all your employees that being disrespectful is okay and then you, no doubt, will eventually reap a culture of discontent in your business.
Conversely, when we are in a good mood and live a life of happiness where we live a life of love and respect to those we come into contact with, then that positive feeling and energy multiplies many times over and your world, and the entire world for that matter, is a much better and happier place! It too, multiplies many times over!
This week, let’s think about what we are sowing. Are we sowing seeds of love or hate; appreciation or contempt; forgiveness or resentment; compassion or disdain? For, like the cedar trees that once were but seeds, whatever we sow will come into being.