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Mental Seed Planting

Back in my early years of high school, I volunteered to serve coffee and doughnuts during the break in the evening adult education classes.

It was a fundraiser for our debate team, and all I had to do was brew up coffee in one of those 50-cup urns. Then, I’d place white Styrofoam cups, napkins, prepackaged sugars and creams, and a box of Hostess doughnuts on a table in the hallway.

The evening classes came down on their break and I’d see people who I deemed to be as old as my parents buying a .25¢ cup of hot brew. I quickly learned who’d be my regulars for those powdered sugar doughnuts.

I’d hear snippets of conversations from the classmates—discussing law, science, or math. Most were here to get college credits for career advancements, while simultaneously holding down a regular job and taking care of families. I had no clue how hard they were working.

But then, there was a really old lady—she had to be way older than my grandmother, and I couldn’t figure out why she was in night school. She routinely bought coffee and classmates enjoyed gathering around her. She’d always say something witty, and everyone laughed.

I finally had an opportunity to ask her why she was taking classes. She said, “You’re never too old to keep planting seeds.” She must have seen my questioning look because she explained, “I never knew I could do college algebra until I tried. Seed planting in my brain.” She pointed to her head.

She was a popular night school student, for sure. And I admire her a whole lot more now, than I ever gave her credit for back then.

As I thought about that elder student this week, I realized she had the right idea. Her mind was open to learning new things. The seeds she sowed weren’t meant to get her a job promotion at 85, but it gave her an opportunity to be around “young folks” as she called her classmates and expand her outlook.

And while this woman was planting seeds in her own mind, unbeknownst, she planted seeds of inspiration in others.

Perhaps, that’s just one more reason why we are here— to be good seed planters—in our own minds, but also planting good seeds in others too.


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