Heart of a Leader

Leadership Matters

The story of the pumpkin seed

pumpkin-seed

This morning I awoke with a nagging sensation that I was not doing all I could for the health of our younger children. Lately, we have been feeding them a fair amount of “store bought” bagels and such like. I know that is not the best thing for them, and I always have a rationalizing story about why that’s the best I can do, such as, “well, at least they’re really good bagels!”.

My resolve as I arose was to begin the process of making homemade breads for them. I started with a healthy breakfast of french toast (ezekiel bread) and turkey bacon. I also began the process of making homemade pumpkin bread.

In the fall, my wife and I loaded up on organic pie pumpkins at a farmer’s market we frequent. My wife stored them in a cool place and they are ready for use whenever we choose. So I took out a very nice pumpkin and opened it lengthwise with my carving knife. The next step in the process is to scoop out the pulp and seeds. As I was about to begin this process, I remembered how nutritional pumpkin seeds were. I decided to separate the seeds from the pulp.

My first impression was, “that’s kinda hard, particularly the way the pulp sticks to the seeds.” Yet, I was in one of those moods that I would do whatever it took to accomplish what I had in mind. I began the process of getting the easy seeds out first. Then I tackled the process of separating the pulp away.

As I was doing this, I wanted to discard a few seeds that were stuck to the pulp since I had so many seeds anyway. As I was about to do this I had a realization. Each seed could produce a WHOLE PUMPKIN. The impact of that hit me like a ton of bricks. Here I was about to carelessly throw away something that could provide two loaves of pumpkin bread or an evening meal of pumpkin soup plus all the seeds that came with the new pumpkin.

I pondered this for a few minutes as I finished the pumpkin seeds. I realized the metaphor for this discovery was how easy it is for me to discard something because using it fully is “just too much trouble”. Often I don’t even consider that there may be value in something I have. It either doesn’t fit perfectly with my perceived need, or maybe it’s older and a newer whatever is available. Whatever the inner dialogue, the outcome is generally the same, I buy something new and discard what I already have.

This wastefulness of precious resources, like the pumpkin seeds, adds up over time, and when I look back I don’t even want to consider all the pumpkins I have banished to the waste bin. The lesson is to consider everything that I touch for its value to me and others and to treat it with respect and appreciation. I am sure that I will find many undiscovered treasures.

Happy New Year,

Thomas

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