Thought For The Week
I like the story called ‘The Emperor’s Seeds’. The Emperor wanted to choose a new successor and so he called all the young people in the kingdom together one day. He said: “The time has come for me to step down and one of you must succeed me. I am going to give you all a seed. Just one seed. It is a very special seed. I want you to go home, plant the seed, water it and come back in one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will judge the plants that you bring to me and the one I choose will be the next emperor.”
There was a young man named Ling who, like the others, received a seed. He planted the seed and watered it carefully. After a few weeks, news went around about seeds sprouting and plants beginning to grow. But for Ling nothing was happening. The weeks went on and still his seed did not germinate. He felt a failure and especially when six months had passed and there was no growth. Ling knew he had failed and especially when he heard about how everyone else had young trees and tall plants.
A year passed and they all brought their plants for inspection. All that Ling had was an empty pot. Feeling embarrassed he still went out of obligation. Ling could feel the eyes of sorrow looking at him as he held his empty pot. The emperor arrived and said: “What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown. Today one of you will be appointed the next emperor.” With that the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room in the corner with his empty pot and called him to the front. Ling was terrified knowing he had failed in everything so far.
And then the emperor spoke: “One year ago today, I gave you all a seed. I told you to take care of it, plant it, water it and bring it back to me. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees, plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted it with another seed. Ling here was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore he will be the new emperor.”
Like all good stories you can take your own meaning from it. But every day we are called to be honest, to have courage, to stand up for what we believe in, to not have all the answers, to do our best and to know it’s ok even if it does not work out.
The Thought For The Week is updated each Monday