Today’s message is especially dedicated to the great Rachel McHugh.

The owner of a greenhouse had a gardener who was careful, methodical, and a hard worker. In spite of this the plants did not prosper under his care.

The owner hired a more experienced gardener. Immediately the plants began to thrive.

The first gardener explained what happened: “When I transplanted flowers, I removed them carefully from their pots. I disturbed them as little as possible. This new man didn’t treat them that way. He was rough with them. He didn’t care how much he disturbed their roots. I thought he would ruin the lot, he was so careless in his handling of them.” He was silent a moment, then said: “But they are growing.”

The roots of the plants in the pots were packed tight. The experienced gardener, by his apparent roughness, loosened the soil and gave the roots a chance to breathe and stretch. He made growing easier for them by handling them roughly at the start.

People handled too gently often fail to prosper. Praise is effective. Gentleness is effective. But there are times when a little shaking up will jar people out of their complacency, will challenge them to make the most of themselves.

(Bits & Pieces May, 1988)

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