Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago

Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.Les Brown

What does that mean?
To me, this is about being kind, but with a very broad target, and thinking far into the future. Trees take a fairly long time to be useful. Even the quick growing trees take a decade before they are going to make enough shade to sit beneath for more than a half hour at a time.

This means if you have shade, some kind soul planted a tree long before you got there. Did they know that you, specifically, were coming? Probably not. They planted it anyway, for anyone and everyone to enjoy. I have planted dozens of trees, mostly on Arbor Day. I don’t think I ever spent any time under their shade, but I know that some have, and that is enough for me.

Why is planning important?  
Sometimes stuff just happens, and you have to react to it. However, that’s not a great way to live, is it? Always on the defensive, always reacting. It might be fun every once in a while, but is it the way you want to live?

On the other hand, it is possible to get far too wrapped up in plans and having everything determined to the finest detail. Ever been on a vacation that was on a 15 min schedule? “Forty five min for lunch, the to the roller coaster for a half hour, then to the afternoon show at 3:00 and then…”

As usual, the best path seems to be somewhere between. While a few will plan their life a year or two down the road, how many thing of things they can do that will improve someone’s life in 10 years, or longer? Wouldn’t that be neat?

Where can I apply this in my life?
Several years ago, Oxford College’s New Hall was in need of new timbers to hold up the roof. Fortunately, their forest was full of oak trees, saved specifically for the purpose of providing large timbers for just such projects. As long as they keep planting and wait long enough for harvest, they will always have the timber they need. And in the meantime, thousands of people will enjoy the shade for centuries.

Start thinking about what you can do to help others. Not specific people, but others in your community, nation or even internationally. Housing, education, food, nurturing, medicine, mentoring, or whatever you think you might be able to do to help them. Grab some paper and list things you think you might be do, and ways you might be able to help.

Now consider how you can help long term. There is an old saying that says if you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day; if you teach them to fish, they can feed themselves thereafter. How can you multiply your impact so it lasts a lifetime? There are groups building schools overseas, and others that train farmers in methods that are both locally sustainable and more efficient (both in crop yield and in soil conservation).

Now, to provide help, the simple thing to do is donate money. I have nothing against that, some people trade nearly all their time for money, and money is what they have to give. You can help with your skills, if they are directly applicable to the task. If not, can you help organize fundraisers, publicity events, advertizing campaigns, social media or media relations? We all have talents, what are yours?

Add your list of skills to your list of causes. Now comes the fun part, try to find good matches. What do you think you can help with and will do good for the people you’re trying to help? You don’t have to start something from scratch. I would argue there are plenty of charities and help groups out there already).

I would check the internet for existing groups that are already involved in what you want to do to help and see if your skills match their needs. They may counter by asking if you can help with their present needs. I would take a moment and consider if you can help them with their needs.

If you have a really great idea, and no one seems to be doing it, try to find an organization that does something similar and try to persuade them to give it a try. Be careful, you may find yourself in charge of the new project! But that could be a good thing, right? 8)

On a hot, sunny day, there’s nothing like resting under a shady tree. Next time, say ‘thank you’ to the person who planted the tree for you. Be grateful, and vow to provide help to others. It truly is worth the effort.

From: Twitter, @motivatquotes
confirmed at :
Photo by Steve-h


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in altruism, doing, gratitude, kindness, patience, vision and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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