I remember when my children were little, my wife and I took them with us to a nice restaurant for dinner. They got all dressed up, and we had a very interesting conversation about life. At one point in the conversation, the kids asked me, “Where do babies come from?” I told them babies come from seeds. They just laughed and said with conviction, “No, they don’t.” They proceeded to inform me that babies come from mothers’ bellies and are born through their private areas. Then I asked the little geniuses, “How do the babies get inside of their mother’s belly?” They were stopped in their tracks, then they got all spiritual and said, “God puts them there.” I started laughing. I went on to tell them how husbands express their love to their wives by hugging them, kissing them, and through sexual intercourse with them. I told them that when husbands and wives have intercourse, a seed is planted inside the woman that grows into a baby, ultimately being birthed and growing

into a full-grown man or woman. They didn’t believe me and said that I was making it up. As adults, we know that’s the truth. Babies come from seeds, but not all of the seeds that go into a woman make babies. They all have the potential, but they don’t all find the right environment for conception and incubation. Seeds have great potential, but they need the right environment to realize their possibilities. This is also true of potential.

Let’s consider the seeds of plants for trees, vegetables, and flowers. On the inside of most seeds, you can find a tiny plant in embryo form. Most of what surrounds the tiny plant is food, which serves as its life support system. The plant is very much alive. It’s just in a state of hibernation. The microscopic plant will use the food that surrounds it during the season of internal growth that takes place once the seed has been planted. The hard shell or seed coat protects the embryo from extreme temperatures, mechanical damage, and parasites. In some cases, the tiny plant can lay dormant in hibernation for years. Scientists have succeeded in germinating a palm tree from a seed that was around 2000 years old. Can you imagine that? The tiny plant lay dormant for possibly 2000 years and was protected by the seed coat and preserved until it was finally planted. The seed became a palm tree that’s now three years old, 4 feet tall, and thriving.

Let me stop here and make a few observations. If potential is like a seed, then potential must have an internal life support system, as well as an external protective layer, as does a seed. The internal life-support system speaks to us of a personal desire, dream, or goal. This is something that does not need external input to be sustained. It’s the inner drive that motivates individuals to pursue what they believe to be their purpose. If no one motivates them, if inspiration does not come from parents, siblings, or other family members and friends, something deep within their heart guides them in the direction of their destiny.

Also, like a seed, potential needs a protective layer to guard against hurtful and discouraging words that tend to poison, cripple, or even abort potential while it’s in the embryonic stage. Parents take on many roles in the process of raising children. At some point, they must become the seed coat to ensure that their child’s dreams are not crushed by teachers, coaches, family members, or the child’s playmates while their potential is lying dormant in the state of hibernation. In time, the right environment and spark needed will occur in the life of those who have potential, and that which laid dormant will began to germinate.