by Amit Garg
Patience, faith and persistence are the three legs of tripod on which attitude stands
Dream is the soul of all that get achieved.
Action is the vehicle of transformation.
Attitude is the engine and its fuel that drives the transformation all around us. Faith and belief are the navigation system. Patience, faith and persistence (or perseverance) are the virtues which define the attitude of achievers.
Patience is an often understated aspect of attitude, however, without which, nothing worth achieving can be achieved. Instant gratification and indulgence characterizes the outlook of our times. Patience is also misunderstood for waiting for things to happen.
Patience is NOT just waiting for the mangoes to fall.
“If you wait for the mango fruits to fall, you’d be wasting your time while others are learning how to climb the tree” ― Michael Bassey Johnson, Master of Maxims, quoted from www.goodreads.com
The Mango fable
I told a small story to my son Uday, when he was 6 years old, and he used to insist on me every night to tell him a story in bed. I used to make up stories of all kinds. Sometimes, I used to try and make something which has some moral value. I made this one on my own, though, I wouldn’t know if already something similar has been told by a father to his son, at some other place, some other time. Perhaps …
In the jungle (I believe many of the stories for children start like this), once upon a time, there lived a cute little rabbit, Joe. Full of energy and vigour, he would play all day along with his friends. But as he grew up, Joe began to take inspirations from things, events and people around him. Joe used to listen to what the grownups were talking about and his little but very impressionable mind would draw conclusions and form opinions.
In his class, the teacher was teaching him about how trees grow up from little seeds, and that it is a miracle of life. That night, over the dinner table, when Joe shared his curiosity on the subject, Joe’s father asked him, if he could see the God’s hand in how a small seed can grow up to be a big green tree. Joe said “Yes, pa. It is unmistakable.”
Joe wondered “Pa. I have to go pluck mangoes form trees in other people’s garden. When would a tree grow in our garden?”
Joe’s father asked him “Have you tried to grow a mango tree yet son?”
Joe was dumbfounded. “No pa. Doesn’t it grow by itself?”
“Joe, when you want to eat a mango, why do you go out with a catapult to get it, and not wait for one to fall down?”
“Pa! It would be too silly. Just waiting, and waiting. It is much easier to fell it down whenever I want to eat one” said Joe.
“So, if you want a mango tree now, grow one yourself, instead of waiting for one to happen by itself.”
Joe was ecstatic “oh yes pa! Very much! I will do it right away”
“Very well, then. How do you plan to go about doing it, son?”
Joe’s impatience was so transparent “Oh don’t tell me. It’s easy. Isn’t it? All I need to do is to put a seed in the earth outside our home.”
“I wouldn’t bet on it son. But I won’t like to discourage you too. Would it be not good if we learn how to do it before we set out on the job. You think there will be a better chance of success there?”
Joe’s excitement was briefly interrupted by this outlandish suggestion by his father “oh! What do you mean? My seed won’t grow up to a tree for sure?”
“No, no. I didn’t say that. Did I? Tell me. You are good at playing marbles. Aren’t you? You play it better than your friend Moe.”
Joe’s long ears seemed to become longer as his father appreciated his skill “Yes. I play it much better than Moe. All of my friends say so too”
“How come you play it so well Joe?”
“Well, I saw big boys playing it. I liked it and started playing myself. I enjoyed it, so I asked one of the big boys and he taught me the tricks. I have become the best player amongst my friends” Joe was full of pride as he said that, his little chest blowing up.
“So you see. When you learnt and practiced it, you became a better player. If you didn’t have the patience to learn, you would have remained an average player.”
Joe could see what his father meant. “You are right pa. Will you teach me how to grow a tree from a seed?”
“Sure son. It would be pleasure. I will bring along a few seeds tomorrow from my friend. He has the best mangoes.”
“But I need to grow just one pa. And I have one seed with me right here. I saved it from the mango I plucked on my way back from school.” Joe’s excitement was palpable.
“Son, how tasty would have been today’s dinner, had your mother cooked it from stale veggies we bought last week? Do you think, to cook good dinner, we need good fresh carrots?”’
“Well. It is a no-brainer. Sure it makes sense. I see that we need good seeds to get a good tree. I understand pa.”
“Good. I know you have a sharp mind, son. Sometimes, you don’t even get a tree, if the seeds are no good. So let me get the seeds tomorrow.”
“But pa, why do we need many seeds instead of just one?” Little Joe was still inquisitive, as all little minds are. (A Pity that little inquisitive minds grow into prosaic, indifferent, incurious adult minds)
“Joe. Do you go out with just one stone with your catapult, when you go out to eat mangoes from the big tree in the orchard?”
Joe was overwhelmed with his father’s wise words “I understand pa. It is better that we start with a more than one seeds. That way, I will have better chances of getting my tree all grown up.”
It was the fifth day since Joe had dug up a small pit and put the mango seeds and surrounded it with earth mound. His father had advised him to water the mound every day. But he was so impatient. He couldn’t see the little sapling growing out. He was not sure if he had done the right thing. He couldn’t eat his lunch that day. He was too anxious. He decided to check it out. He dug up the mound with his little paws. He was crestfallen. There was nothing that had changed.
He decided to not break up the bad news to his father that day. He was not sure whether he was a failure or whether his father didn’t know enough to guide him. Or maybe the seeds were not as good as his father thought they were.
He dug out the mound again next day. Still nothing! Joe was devastated.
At the dinner table, he could barely utter the words from his sullen mouth “Pa. I think we have failed. There is nothing down there that has changed.”
“Oh. How do you know son?”
“I checked it yesterday, and, again today. Nothing is there. No change.”
“Hmm.. son. Let me get you to meet my friend, who owns the orchard and the farm. He will help us out.”
So father son went over to the farmer and asked him, what could be wrong.
“Joe”, he said. “Look over there. How is that man sowing seeds? He is sprinkling so many of them all around. The same way you did to your mango seeds.”
After a pause, he said, “Do you think, we are going to dig down in the soil every now and then and check whether it is working?”
“No, I don’t think so. It is not practical.”
“And it is not required too”, said the farmer. “The nature has its ways, and we trust it. There are some basic things in which we have faith, in which we believe in and which we believe to be true and inevitable.”
“You are so concerned about the tree, whether it will grow or not. Are you sure you will be there to see it?”
“I think so. I guess… I will be there. Why not? …. Yes, but….” Muttered Joe, not sure of himself.
“We go through everyday sure as if tomorrow we will be there. We also know there will be sun in the sky tomorrow. Similarly, if we have planted the seeds, we know they will grow. Some of them will. Some of them won’t. Our job is to give them manure, enough water and to protect them from getting eaten by pests. Our job is not to doubt. If we do our work, God will reward us with Mangoes” the farmer laughed heartily.
“It is not our job to doubt the process. Our job is to take care of things we are supposed to do. Have faith. And have patience.”
“Joe. Your dream of having a mango tree in your garden, with the action you took, was the starting point. Now, you need to have the faith and persevere. Keep on moving. Having the faith and keep doing what you are required to do. Don’t worry. You will get your tree and loads of mangoes too” and again, the farmer laughed on.
“Thank you so much uncle. And thanks pa. I know that you knew all this but you got me here, so that I can see and understand better. I will remember this”
And so the little rabbit Joe, learnt how to have faith and persistence. And soon, he got the sapling, which gave him hope. And then, his tree grew on as he also grew up.
by Amit Garg