” A little boy planted a carrot seed… and the whole world said nothing would sprout.” – The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
For the majority of the children I work with in the Rio the whole world has said they won’t succeed, they won’t thrive, they won’t amount to anything,… they won’t sprout. That is sadly the story of two girls, Sarah and Monse. They come from rough situations and unsupportive environments where they have been told, they won’t “sprout.”
I went to the Rio about a week ago with my tutoring supplies in hand. I hadn’t ever tutored kids in Spanish before, but thought it couldn’t be that much different than the experiences I had tutoring in the States. The three of us girls sat down in the comedor and I pulled out a supply of books that I had with me. The girls looked through the stack and then we all decided on The Carrot Seed (La Semilla de Zanahoria). As an early childhood teacher, I am ashamed to say that I had never read this book before! We cracked open the book and began to read about the boy, the seed, and the disbelief of the world around him.
“His mom said, ‘I fear it won’t sprout.’
His dad said, ‘I fear it won’t sprout.’
His older brother said, ‘ I know it won’t sprout.’ ”
I asked the girls how the boy must have felt. They said he felt sad and discouraged. I asked them if they ever felt like that, or if anyone ever said those types of things to them. They both nodded and we kept reading.
“Every day the boy pulled up the weeds that were growing around the seed and sprayed the soil with water. But nothing sprouted… And nothing sprouted… The whole world said that nothing would sprout.”
“Have you ever felt like the whole world is saying you won’t grow and change and that you can’t do the things you want to when you grow up?” I asked. Again there were silent nods.
“But every day he continued to pull up the weeds and spray the soil with water. And then, one day,… a carrot sprouted…. Just as the boy knew it would.”
The girl’s faces were delighted as we got to the last page! “We knew it would sprout!” they said. “and the carrot is HUGE!”
The picture on this page is priceless. The boy in the story has a wheelbarrow and one huge carrot inside. Not only did the carrot sprout, it was much bigger and better than any normal carrot.
We closed the book and began to talk about how we are like carrot seeds. That sometimes people will say to us, “You won’t sprout… you will never be good at math, you will never amount to anything, you can’t be a doctor, you can never leave this place…” But what did the boy do? I asked.
“He kept working hard.” Was the answer. “He didn’t give up because he knew the carrot seed would sprout.”
“Hmm,” I said, “what do you think we can learn from this story?”
Sarita replied, “That if we work hard and don’t give up, one day the seed will sprout.”
“Good,” I replied. “But there is more than that.” I went on to explain to the girls that God created them with a purpose. That He has a plan for their lives. That it wasn’t an accident that they were born onto this earth. “It may seem like the whole world is against you,” I said. ” Your mom, your dad, or your teacher may be against you, but God is always for you. He know the plans and the purpose and the future that He has for you. You are special. You are unique, you are dearly loved, and you will sprout.”
The truth is that God believes in these girls and supports them. He is pulling up the weeds in their lives and He is faithful to put water on the soil of their hearts. The whole world may say, “they won’t sprout.” But God says otherwise….
“I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
And when God sprouts a seed….watch out! It is bigger and better than anything we can imagine!