Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
The following story has been around for some time, but it contains a very valuable lesson that I believe is worth sharing. (All the sources I consulted said that the original author is unknown.)
Growing Good Corn
There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.
One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.
“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.
“Why sir,” said the farmer, “didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”
He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor’s corn also improves.
So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.
The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.
It’s extremely easy to get caught up in the mindset of scarcity, particularly during difficult or uncertain times; too often, we believe that we must jealously guard whatever we have. We need to have the courage to recognize that our lives are interdependent: the fate of one affects the fate of all.
Don’t let fear or greed drive you to think only of yourself. Remember to consider the needs of others as well. You’ll be rewarded, whether you know it or not.
The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.
1931 – 2015
Copyright © 2020 John Chancellor