When I was young I used to love taking plants from the forest near our house and replanting them in our yard. I especially loved the ferns that grew in profusion deep in the shaded glens. With their delicate fronds they brought to mind some prehistoric landscape.

The problem I had was that I would carefully transport these plants, gently put them back into the soil and, in days, they would wither and die. It was extremely puzzling to my young mind until my grandmother explained it to me. “Boy,” she said. “”It’s not enough to put plants into the ground. You’ve got to tend to them if you want them to grow.”

Following her advice, I soon had a beautiful woodland garden flourishing in a shaded corner of our yard.

Principles are a lot like those woodland plants. They must be tended if they are to flourish. It’s not enough to simply plant a principle by claiming adherence to it. The weeds of uncertainty must be culled, doubt pruned away, and the water and fertilizer of practice applied regularly, for principles to take root.

Merely saying that you believe in honesty and integrity is not enough. In fact, if your life models honesty and integrity on a daily basis, it isn’t necessary to tell people that you believe in it. Your actions will speak far louder than your words ever could.

This is particular true for those of us in the older generations. The young look to us for guidance, and, if we live the principles we wish them to follow, we’ll be planting the seeds of a better, brighter future for our nations and societies.

Published by Charles Ray