Guidelines: Waiting on Apples

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For about five years now, my family and I have been working on getting fruit trees established behind our home. We have planted and lost, replanted and lost and are very happy to say that we are finally learning to succeed! With luck and much effort, we have a handful of trees that have survived for a few years now and a few that even bear fruit this year.

It is a great feeling to see much toil and labor come to fruition in the form of a few dozen apples hanging idly from the limbs of a row of young trees. One Saturday as I walked out to the “orchard” to check on the trees, I noticed my sons gathered around the base of one of the small apple trees. When I got to where they were, I noticed that the apples of that particular tree were missing several of their companions. Lying at my boys’ feet were a handful of small cores. I took a long deep breath, let it out and then took another. In the best “wise sounding father voice” that I could muster, I crouched down beside my little sons and asked “why are you eating the apples?”

“Because they taste good and we like apples,” was the simple reply. I reiterated to the boys that we shouldn’t eat the apples until they are ripe. Since our previous discussion did not yield the results I had hoped, I decided to try a different approach. As we sat at the base of the young tree, I explained to them that they could have the remaining small apples now or they could wait.

If they waited, they would still be able to have all the apples on the tree, but that those same apples would be sweeter to the taste and two or three times bigger than they were now. I left the choice up to the boys. After a short decision period, all three young boys decided to wait for the greater of the two rewards.

I was happy to hear their decision and was prouder yet when I walked out again the following weekend to see the apples still hanging idly amongst the small branches. I hope that as my little boys grow into young men and then as they with the rising generations mature into adulthood, they can apply the lessons of the apple and have the ability to wait. Wait for the right opportunity, for the right season, until you can afford it. There are times when we must work a little longer, wait a bit more, be patient and hold out for the greater reward.

I appreciate the words of Theodore Roosevelt who said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain and difficulty. I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.”

Whether sprinting down the track toward your goals or wading through the mud of opposition, keep stretching and striving and be patient. The harvest is just ahead and then comes the sweeter fruit. Life is good, enjoy the harvest!

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