A seed sprouts under a mango tree

Under a hundred-year-old mango tree sprouted a seed. The baby sprout, everyday watched children climb the tree for mangoes and thought to himself, “When will I climb and reach those mangoes!”

An ant was walking past, so the baby sprout asked the ant, “Do you know how to reach those mangoes on the top branches?”

Ant said, “Well! I’m just back from there. It was a long journey of 2 nights and 2 days. ”

This only made the baby curious! He could neither walk nor could he fly. His question remained unanswered.

The baby was growing oblivious of himself. When you want to reach the mangoes on the tallest branch of a giant tree, you forget your own increasing length.

The baby grass made many friends. He heard tales from spiders who made nests on the tree top. He chatted with birds that could fly easily to the tallest branch and he became friends with a butterfly and a dragonfly who often rested on him when the breeze blew the sweetest.

But none of these friends and their sojourns to the mangoes on the tallest branch satisfied him. He wanted to experience mangoes for himself. He wanted to journey himself. But he was just a baby!

One season when the mango tree had just begun to flower and honey bees were busy bumbling and collecting honey, the growing baby overheard a conversation between ants.

“This season the flowers are extra rich and fragrant. Looks like the fruits are going to be extra delicious. We’ll wait for the parrots to pluck the best ones.”

The baby felt sad. He felt hopeless. His dream seemed impractical. He had no wings like the dragonfly and legs like ants. He couldn’t fly like the parrots nor flutter like the butterfly. So the baby started to forget the mangoes. He avoided talking about them. He even stopped to look up!

Months passed off he didn’t look up to see how the fragrant flowers had grown into fruits. The green fruits transformed into red ones and the red ones into yellow. Then one night as the baby was asleep, a breeze fluttered him. The breeze slowly gained speed and turned into a wind and the wind slowly turned into storm!

Baby was terrified. May be he wouldn’t live. In those desperate moments, baby’s thoughts were as fast as the wind and then he lost conscious of himself.

When he woke up, it was a bright day. He looked around. The ground was strewn with mangoes, all kinds of them — small, big, green, red and yellow. Some plucked by parrots with worms burrowing in them. Some with their seeds exposed biting dust.

And then the baby looked towards the sky. On the leafless tree, on the top most branches, hung a lonely mango — bright, big, intact and green. The baby smiled and then never ever stopped to look up! The baby was no longer a baby!

The baby plant idolized many characters around him, worshiped them, and tried to imitate them. His desire to be like them made him forget himself. It made him dissatisfied and unhappy — so much so that he stopped to be hopeful, he stopped to smile — he stopped to look up at the sky.

Others’ journeys can inspire us but they can’t be our journey. Our realization of our unique contexts and abilities happens when we go through our own unique life challenges — our own storms.

When we survive, we break through our self-created myths and our self-imposed limitations. We make a true beginning towards realizing our own purpose. For educators, it’s very important to understand that a child can’t be like someone else. It’s important to let a child be and not impose our desires on them. To help a child be and realize his unique abilities and purpose is the most important role of a teacher.

Story by Venus Upadhayaya, Illustrations by Leslie Johnson

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