Planting Seeds

Last weekend, during my annual effort to organize my life, I was cleaning out some desk drawers and came across a very old TV remote control.  It was for a Sony television we had back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  It absolutely pales in comparison to the complicated remotes we use today – the ones that have at least as many functions as an airplane cockpit and look almost as dangerous.  This one is amazingly simple…it has a power button, two volume and two channel controls, and that’s it.  Nevertheless, it’s called the “Remote Commander,” because it does everything the viewer needs it to do – at least it did back in 1980 when we only had five channels.

When I found the remote, I burst into tears.  You see, when my son was an infant, this remote control was his favorite object.  It was the only thing that kept him still and quiet during diaper changes, getting dressed, or if I was on the phone.  It’s covered with scratches from his sharp baby teeth (yes, I let him put it in his mouth – I was desperate) and dents from banging it against the side of the crib.  He would push the power button and turn the television on and off and on again.  Between the ages of 7 and 13 months, he loved this remote more than any other object in the house.   So I got sad when I looked at it, remembering a time that seemed hectic and crazy then, but in retrospect was really quite idyllic -as hindsight always is.

Anyway, after I got over my little hormonal outburst, I started thinking about this remote in a different way.  From the very beginning of our son’s life, it was clear to us that he was completely in love with technology and computers.  By the time he was two years old, I could ask him to program the VCR for me, and he would toddle out to the family room, pick up the remote  ( already a slightly more complicated version) and set it up to record anything I wanted.

In the early 1980’s home computers were just becoming available.  He was not quite three years old when we purchased his first computer, a Texas Instruments model that was little more than a game station.   He was six when we bought the huge IBM personal computer where he really cut his teeth on computing.  I’ve lost count of the number of computers he’s had in his lifetime (although I’m sure he could tell me in the blink of an eye, including makes and model numbers.)  Now, 30 years later, computers are an integral part of how he makes his living, and also how he spends much of his free time.

It seems to me that the seeds of our passions are planted in us at birth.  My son’s affinity for the remote control, for anything with buttons or anything that controlled some electronic gadget, seemed to emerge around the age of five months, along with his milk teeth.  My love of music, particularly the piano, manifested itself when I was a toddler.   I clearly recall sitting in the baby seat of a grocery cart,  dancing my fingers along  the handle and singing, pretending I was playing the piano.  We didn’t have a piano in our house, and to my knowledge I had never heard or seen one except perhaps on television. Nevertheless, I was manic for one and pestered my parents  about it as soon as I could talk, until on my sixth birthday one miraculously appeared in our living room.  I breathed a sigh of relief, as if someone had given water to a thirsty soul.

The scary thing about these seeds is correctly discerning what they are and cultivating them. I’m not around children very often, but if I were I would probably spend a fair amount of time observing them and trying to discover what their passions were and how they could be turned into something meaningful later in life.  I’m fascinated by the whole prospect.

Luckily for me, my parents acknowledged my desire and helped me fulfill it.  I’m hopeful that we did all we could in encouraging our son’s obvious passion.  But sometimes I wonder – what if there were other seeds lying dormant that we never knew about?  If we had scratched the surface a little bit, was there perhaps a painter or a doctor or a carpenter buried deep beneath the layers?  My thoughts turn inward, and I wonder about seeds that might have lain fallow in my soul for the last 50 years.  Is it too late to unearth them, start nourishing them, and see if they’ll grow?

I’m not much of a gardener – this I know for sure – but it might be interesting to root around in my deepest desires, and see if anything starts blooming.

How about you?  Were the seeds of your passions evident from an early age?  Can you see the seeds of the future in your children?




9 thoughts on “Planting Seeds

  1. What an endearing post… thanks for sharing. I’ve enjoyed reading how you remember your child playing with the remote. As for me, I’d started reading to my son while he was still an infant, and he started reading on his own at 5. For us, it’s teeth marks on board books. Music too, while he’s classically trained in piano, and got his ARCT at 16, he’s into guitar and contemporary music now that he’s a young man. I see a combination. The seeds we sow do come to fruition but then there are also seeds blown in from other gardens as well. 😉

  2. So true and so eloquently written.
    It’s true that we nurture and tend to our children’s ‘seeds’ but what others still lie dormant in us? Perhaps we’re like those wonderful cacti that only bloom every 100 years or so…Maybe we have something wild and wonderful to discover in our 70th year or our 82nd or maybe it’s something that will surprise us next year?
    A passion or a gift that flowers and bursts forth and surprises us with its colour and bounty. It’s a wonderful thought. Thanks Becca.

  3. Colleen, I like the idea of experiencing a Renaissance. I hope I’m wise enough and brave enough to leave myself open to the possibility, and to allow whatever seeds are buried to germinate and bloom.

  4. That’s what I enjoy about being a parent– observing who my children are naturally, and no doubt, some personality traits were present at birth. When I look back on my childhood, I see myself singing “Cold As Ice” into my record player microphone at 4 years old. I can’t sing a note, but I can see now the essence of what I was doing. I like to entertain and be in the spotlight, but more importantly, it’s about communicating and connecting! Have a great weekend.

  5. I’ve been thinking in this vein since spending Christmas with my grandchildren. It’s such a gift to watch them play and interact with others. They’re so different from one another.

    My four-year old granddaughter is outgoing, intuitive, spontaneous, and she flits from one thing to another like a butterfly. The boy is laid-back and quiet and likes to take his time and examine things up close.

    My granddaughter waned to open the next gift before she’d finished the first one. My grandson refused to be rushed. He was deliberate and insisted on enjoying and playing with each gift before opening the next.

    For the first time, I spent a lot of time thinking and wondering about what they will be when they grow up. Their personalities are developing every day.

    Lovely post, Becca. You always give us food for thought.

    • Because I’m an only child, and then raised an only child, I’m particularly fascinated by siblings who seem to be polar opposites in many ways. I have several friends with two children – boy and girl – and it seems that’s the case with every pair of them.

      Wonder why?
      That’s some food for thought, too 🙂
      I’m so glad you were able to spend that time with your grandchildren. What a gift!

  6. Oh, yes! When I was very small, I tried desperately to draw. I did lots of crafts with my mom — I was messy than, I’m messy still. But I couldn’t draw to save my soul. My cousin Patty, on the other hand, three years younger, was gifted in that area. I’d struggle with my stick figures and my mother — in her best consoling way, said, “You write. You can write well. Patty’s gift is that of artist.” Well, that made me mad, so I started drawing models from Kay Baum ads, copying Millie the Model comic books, and finally moving on to the art books my mom bought me. “Learn to Draw!” And I did.

    Thing is, all these years later, I still do art — my drawing isn’t very good and I don’t pretend to think that’ll be something I do for money. But I do art, and have ever since then. And I still write. Patty — for three decades, didn’t touch pen to paper. Only recently has she found the gift that had been hidden for so long.

    When I first met Rick, Greg was 9. On Rick’s fridge was a picture Greg had drawn of his dad playing the guitar. The shapes were rough, but very accurate and in proportion with some perspective. The detail on the hands playing the guitar was specific. It looked like a VERY good nine-year-old drawing. Maybe a little older. I commented on it. Greg had done it several years before. Both Rick and his mom made sure he had art supplies, support. Flash forward to a 24-year-old art school graduate. We hope he’ll have a job in art soon. But we know no matter what, he’ll always have that art with him.

    • Sometimes people forget that we need those passions in our lives whether they become our actual careers or not. It’s wonderful to “always have art within,” no matter what you do for a living.

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