You’re Not Alone

I’m going tell you something that scared me in the past. You ready? I hope so because this idea used to make me uneasy hindering my growth. Ok here it is: We don’t have to feel or be alone to grow ourselves and others.

In my early days of pastoring, in my late 20s, I thought I had to cultivate mine and other’s growth alone. I used to think that if I was a part of a group working to cultivate growth for others it would slow down our growth. I’d try to work in total isolation growing my students, kids, and mentees.

This was a hard habit to break. In the early days of, in my early to mid thirties, tried to do things on my own only to burn out and put in the trash. After time and reflection I see, in order to have a meaningful life beyond what I’ve done in the past I need patience, self understanding, and companion plants around to keep my growth alive. A beautiful garden’s best experienced with others patiently cultivating side by side with you.

I’ve always craved growth but one of the problems that I’ve had was knowing what it takes to grow. So this blog post will give you a few ideas on the attitude needed to grow yourself along side your students, kids, and mentees.

Before I give you the ideas remember, we grow best when we grow with others.

Growth with others takes patience

To grow with others takes patience. Maybe this is why we want to create growth around us by ourselves. Patience takes strength. After growing into my roles of teacher, dad, and mentor I’ve learned the critical role patience plays in growth. Many want to see a ripe fruit on the vine yesterday. We want people around us to act on our teachings when WE think they should. We try to push them along by our timetable only to frustrate ourselves and feel unappreciated. We can take their lack of growth personal thinking something is wrong with us or them. At this point some of us back away and turn to isolation. But, the patient hand, the hand of a gardener sows seeds and waits for growth with others not alone because they know this is how growth works. We cultivate growth with those we serve not by ourselves. A practice of patience will serve our growth, both teacher and student, both parent and child, both mentor and mentee the whole way through.

Growth with others takes self understanding

To grow well with others understand yourself. We must grow to know and understand ourselves before we can help others know and understand anything. Take time to observe and understand yourself. Part of the way we cultivate self understanding is with others.

How do you find out who you are when you have so many people around wanting your attention? Use the relationships you have with others to deepen understanding of self. Think about who your children, students, or mentees think you are. What kind of person do they think and say you are? What about you do they see and become like? How they are because of your influence helps you to see who you are.

Take time to pray, meditate, or practice some rituals like reciting affirmations with the people you grow to show them how to understand themselves which will deepen your understanding of yourself.

Growth with others takes being companion plants

There’s a term called companion plants which means that two or more plants grow best when they are together rather than when they are alone. Not all plants grow best when they’re together so you can’t just put two plants together that don’t go well together. For example, we had a lily of the Nile plant that didn’t grow until it had four or five other lilies of the Nile together with it. With certain people around our growth could multiply. Rarely this happens alone.

There are some tasks that are best going alone, growth for growing people who grow people is not one of them. Some alone time to recharge is necessary but teachers, parents, and mentors grow best with others. I know for some this is easy and some it is not but for all it takes patience, an understanding of self, and desire to cultivate companionship with those with whom we share the garden.

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