“Second Hand Lions” and The Law of the Harvest

“Second Hand Lions” and The Law of the Harvest


There are 2 parts of the movie “Second Hand Lions” that I want to use as an illustration for this topic.  First, the 3 main characters in the movie have purchased some vegetable seeds from a travelling salesman and have planted them. You now see them dressed in their farmer bib overalls and holding their rakes and shovels working the garden with the plants about 18” in height.  The young boy looks around at all the plants and asks what is growing. One of the men says that over here are tomatoes, over there are peas, and here carrots, etc.  They all three take a look around and see that everything looks the same and it’s all corn. They thought they were planting a variety, but what was growing was something entirely different than what they thought.

The other part of the movie involves the young boy and his mom.  It’s obvious that it’s a sad relationship. She puts her needs and wants ahead of his, and ultimately he finds something that will make him happy and allow her to continue her sowing of wild oats unfettered.

Thus it is in life. We think we’re on the road that we want to be on and that when we get to the end of that road, we will be so happy with the outcome. Maybe we will be and maybe we won’t. It all depends on what we have ‘planted’ all along.

As children, there were various activities we wanted to be involved in, or what our parents wanted us involved in, and some activities went better than others.  Our mom wanted us to all play the piano.  I was the eldest, and she was young and strong and would follow up and make sure I practiced an hour a day. I learned to play the piano well enough that I could enjoy it and accompany singers and other musicians on a regular basis. As the years went by, some of my brothers and sisters took to the piano and some didn’t, and mom was running out of time and energy to follow through with the ones that weren’t taking to it. So to this day, the ones who practiced and worked, can play the piano pretty much in direct proportion to how much they practiced and how much they enjoyed it.

We’ve all had friends, neighbors, or acquaintances who throw caution to the wind as far as their health, education, how they treat others, and their honesty. Twenty years down the line, they have compromised health, no training in providing for themselves, few true friends, and if they don’t have a record with the law, they for sure have few relationships of trust.  We don’t get younger and stronger and better looking through the years.  Blazing through one boy friend/girl  friend after another with no worries about consequences will result in one day waking up and realizing that we’re no longer the belle/beau of the ball and it’s unlikely we’ll get married, and we have no children, and how we wish we had grandchildren. Yep, you planted skunk cabbage, and that’s what you grew.

Most decisions which affect our future are made and prepared for in the first 20-25 years of our lives.  These are crucial years. This is when we are strong, energetic, mentally sharp and when society is the most forgiving and supportive. This is the time we should be learning about principles, work ethic, religion, family relationships, schooling, talents, and developing all of them. The youth who do this, will have built a strong foundation for the future, filled with confidence and preparedness.

If we plant a tomato seed, we will get a tomato. If we plant cucumber seeds, we will get cucumbers.  There are laws of nature and science which we cannot will away or ignore – as our characters in Second Hand Lions found out. They planted all corn seed, and that’s all that grew.

Someone once said ‘the true source of misery and unhappiness in life is trading what we want most, for what we want now.’


  • jessie elizabeth
    Posted at 18:37h, 28 February

    I love that movie. It was fun to read your analogy and so true. This instant gratification will be the ruin of so many of our youth! Let’s take time to plant the correct seeds. Thanks Madi for another great, entertaining and clever article! (That garden scene was so funny – love Robert Duvall!)

  • Dorraine Thomas
    Posted at 22:12h, 03 March

    You are right about our first 25 years being the most important and most formative. Unfortunately, I look at some of my kids friends, and they have NO plan, NO goal, and NO drive to accomplish anything for their “future.” If only they realized that this is the time that they should be working their buns off.

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