Perseverance is defined as the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition. This is one of several themes in children’s author, Eric Carle’s wonderful story “ The Tiny Seed”, as a tiny seed perseveres through the perils of weather, geography, hungry predators looking for food, a “big fat weed that takes all the sunlight and the rain away”, and the threat of human beings- to eventually become a beautiful giant flower, strong and proud.
Against all odds this tiny seed survives through the seasons against obstacles many of the larger and faster seeds could not. In this story the reader not only learns a bit about nature’s life cycle and its natural beauty, but the beauty of hope, patience, the refusal to quit and survival.
Published in 1970, Carle’s story teaches children to remain steadfast toward reaching their goals and making their dreams come true despite the many inevitable obstacles upon which they will stumble along the way. This tiny seed shows us all that it is possible to succeed if only we hang in there long enough to overcome each roadblock we encounter, despite their size or impossibleness.
We can apply this idea “to persevere” to nearly every area of our life, whether to the child who tries out for the baseball team at his school, or the young adult applying to college, or the young couple trying to get pregnant, or the hard worker attempting to save enough for his first home- each of whom must stick it out if he or she truly wants to succeed.
The Tiny Seed first sets out for its journey in the Autumn, sailing on through the seasons of Winter, Spring and Summer until it ultimately ends up back in the Autumn season where the cycle begins all over again. Seemingly, in addition to perseverance, the story looks at the development of a plant and the roadblocks that challenge its growth along the way, mirroring the natural cycle of life to which we as human beings are born, live and ultimately leave- as pieces of ourselves sail on to repeat the cycle all over again. This illustration provides hope and a sense of appreciation for the life we were gifted while we have the time on this earth to appreciate it.
Therefore, despite the many inevitable roadblocks we as former tiny seeds encounter along our journey of life, through Eric Carle’s delightful and almost profound story about the beauty of perseverance and nature’s life cycle, we know in the end we will succeed as long as we never stop trying.
There will be challenges to overcome, but through hope, faith and perseverance, pieces of us all will sail on. Whether those tiny pieces are the seeds of our children, our achievements, our successes, our lessons, our victories, our hopes, our dreams or anything else we leave behind, they will ultimately plant themselves somewhere and grow.
It is the simple, meaningful and magical manner in which Eric Carle develops this story that allows the young reader to understand his beautiful message that was so carefully wound around these profound themes.
“Once more the wind shakes the flower, and this time the flower’s seed pod opens. Out come many tiny seeds that quickly sail far away on the wind.”
And through hope, perseverance and the beauty of nature and life’s cycle, the tiny seeds will never truly die.