Intergrity: The Emperor and the Seed

Integrity seem’s to be a big theme in my life at the moment and for whatever reason I’ve decided that since it seems to be a topic everywhere I look then I am going to delve deeper…   I loved this story I came across and thought you would too.  Unfortunately everywhere I look the author is unknown…. I’d really like to thank whoever wrote it for a wonderful short story I can remember for myself and share with my children. 

Here it is:

The Emperor and the Seed:

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory. If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy. If you plant patience, you will reap improvements. If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.


If you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust. If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness. If you plant pride, you will reap destruction. If you plant envy, you will reap trouble. If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation. If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation. If you plant greed, you will reap loss. If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies. If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles. If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.


What Picking Your Nose and Integrity Have in Common

As I settled in to read Magyk last night at bedtime to the kids I noticed as we lay nestled in bed that my daughter was indeed picking her nose again.  Now, I’ve tried to really teach my kids that this habit although productive, is also rather disgusting and can get them into trouble later in life because, well… no body really likes to be hanging out with a nose picker ( I have personal experience!)

When I lightly reached over and simply “tapped” her on the elbow so as not to arouse the interest and then teasing of  the younger and less compassionate sibling it created quite a stir, and ended up causing even more attention!

“Mommy, I was NOT picking my nose!!!!!” said in her hautiest of voices.

“really Manon? because that’s what it looked like” (this is always the case by the way – she was never doing what I caught her red handed doing and I’ve tried multiple approaches)

“Well I wasn’t and besides! Why were you tapping me! That’s mean!”

“by tapping,  I was trying to tell you to get a kleenex without embarrassing you, I am sooo sorry, perhaps you can tell me how you would like me to handle it in the future?”

“But  I was NOT doing it. I was simply itching my nose!”

To Myself: does one roll the itch between one’s fingers?

“Manon, just because you were picking your nose it does not mean I don’t love you!”

and on and on it went until she finally broke down sobbing telling me that all the kids in her class think she is “bossy” and now she’s bossy AND a nose picker!

Which led us into an interesting discussion (I’ll give you the adult version)

If you continue to resist, deny or defend something you are doing from anothers point of view than you never have an opportunity to step into another’s shoes to see their point of view, and you never have a chance to realize that sometimes the way we behave and how we use our words and body language says more about who we are and how we are being than the things we think we project about who we are.

So what does picking your nose and integrity have in common?  Well… if you  are going to do it, then do it with integrity.

That means, if you get caught picking your nose (lying, cheating, fabricating, embellishing, gossiping) … fess up.  Then you get rid of all of the fear, upset, and anger that’s associated with getting caught!  A simple apology for “messing up”  is kind of refreshing.  If you are going to “risk” the action, than you must be prepared for the re-action.

Stated another way: If you are going to be a nose picker then be the best nose picker that you can be and do it without apologies, but if you feel you have to make apologies because you realize it really was not the thing to do?  Than STOP DOING IT, but don’t make me feel like I’m crazy when I see something with my own eyes, or hear something with my own ears and you say it isn’t so.

THAT’s called CRAZY MAKING, and it causes a lot of damage down the road.