Better Boys and Early Girls

While many of us were scrambling to file our taxes by theprecipitous April 15 deadline, I was scrambling to fill my garden bed with tomato plants so that I might soon be enjoying their returns. (And yes, I did file my taxes too.)

This year’s garden variety includes: Husky Cherry Red, Park’s Whopper, Better Boy, Early Girl, and Bonnie Grape. While it was “strictly Beefsteak” in my early days of planting, I've come to realize the wide, and somewhat overwhelming, assortment over the years. Overwhelm aside, my diverse, springtime selections allow me to enjoy a bunch of distinct new flavors with the ripening of each juicy, red delight.

As with most things, here too I couldn’t help but find the parallel with us human beings. What, or who, are you planting in your garden? Are you filling it with a rich diversity of people, people who look, act, speak, and think different than you? Or, are you filling it with people who could pass as your proverbial double?

It’s been said that who we are is best reflected by the five people with whom we surround ourselves most. Who are those people in your life? With whom do you spend the most time? Do they look and sound and think just like you? Do they stretch and expand your way of thinking and being?  The deeper questions are: do they truly reflect who you are and what’s important to you? And, do they hold similar values and support what you’re up to, even if they don’t stretch and expand you in some measurable way?

Imagine if, like my now infamous tomato garden, your “people garden” was filled with a variety of folks, people who provide you with new and distinct “flavors” and allow you the space to grow and room to expand. (After all, if you’re a Bonnie Grape and you fill your garden with a bunch of other Bonnie Grapes, you’ll end up with more Bonnie Grapes than any field of lettuce could possibly hold!)

Even if Bonnie Grapes are your thing (they happen to be a personal favorite) and you want a garden bed filled with them, don’t lose sight of the other varieties out there. Like you, they too have their place in this world. And if not planted right on top of each other, not crowding one another with continuous judgment and harsh criticism, there’s more than enough room for all of us – and we’ll all be Better Boys (and girls!) because of it.