What do you need, better breeding or a walk on the wild side?
Visit the grocery store this fall, and you will see big, colorful, sweet apples - and they are in season and therefore cheap! (What's not to love?!) Run with me this morning, and you would jog past many crab apple trees, covered with some of the tiniest apples you could imagine. The wild ones are hardy in their own ways, but would hardly ship well or sell. Their genes haven't been tampered with much. The "well-bred" ones have been improved by many scientists to improve their appearance, taste, size, sturdiness for travel, and resistance to disease. Great qualities to have! Though they've been changed against their will, I'll take an improved apple almost any day.
Now, I'm no plant scientist, but I learned in school that plants are occasionally crossed back with the older, more wild versions. Corn, for example, is sometimes crossed with ancient corn, teosinte, to improve its hardiness. Keeping wild varities wild is critical to maintaining the health of modern varieties, and yet almost all teosinte is endangered or extinct. Wildness is worth preserving too.
So what does all this mean for us? If we stay wild and untamed for our entire lives, we'll never grow to be quite as beautiful, big, or resilient as we could be. On the flip side, if we become too well-bred, too much of what everyone around us wants, we will lose some of our deepest strength and character. We need some cultivating, and we need some wildness. Lately, in my comfortable adult life, I find that I need to inject a bit of the wildness back into my life. But other times, I need to let others press on me and improve me a bit. So here are a couple of prescriptions, depending on where you are at...
For "better breeding" - let others have a small chance to improve your character.
1. Do what she/he said (your husband or wife, your mother-in-law, your friend) - just try their suggestion!
2. Try that activity that your boss suggested (be it a boss in the workplace or just your bossy kid at home).
3. Take a leadership role, instead of just griping. Good leaders are forced to do a lot of listening and caring and adapting to others.
For "a walk on the wild side" - do something uncomfortable!
1. Ask a friend how he/she came to hold a conviction that is quite different from your own. Shut up and listen. Don't even give your side of the issue.
2. Do something you would have before you became a right-wing conservative, or before you wrote off God or church. Vote for a Democrat. Pray.
3. Try something that you're afraid of failing at. Start a blog that might never get read. Start exercising - get out and enjoy a long walk.
For today, I'm going to pick #1 for better breeding and #3 for wildness (by posting right here)!
To all my thoughts, assembled while jogging this morning - Rachel wants to add from the stroller - "Moooom, the wind is freezing me cold!". Above, holding a full-grown "wild" apple and a beautiful one from the store.