When our twin boys were about 7 years old, they planted some seeds beneath our deck. The ground was softer there and it was easier to dig than the sun-drenched back yard. I can still see their young faces as they ran inside the house and told me about the tree they were going to grow. After milk and cookies, they ran back outside.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"Back outside to see our tree!" they answered.

They really believed it could happen that fast.

Not long ago, I heard about some seeds that reminded me of Grant and Russell's tree. If you plant the seed of a Chinese bamboo tree and care for it diligently every day for four years, nothing will happen. That's right ... nothing. Not even a sprout. But at some point during the fifth year it will begin to grow, and in just a few weeks it will be more than 80 feet tall.

I'm not a gardener. While I enjoy other people's gardens, it's simply not one of my passions. But I am passionate about children, and as a parent, grandparent, former teacher, and current school board member, I see that there are a lot of parallels between planting seeds, parenting, and education.

As parents and teachers, we plant the seeds of character and knowledge. Some of us are like Russell and Grant — we expect results within minutes, but each child has an individual timeline for growth. If we expect them all to grow and learn at the same rate, we will become discouraged. Sometimes we have to water and wait, and wait some more. Sometimes that waiting period is hard and we start to wonder if what we say or do really matters.

As for the Chinese bamboo tree, it didn't really grow 80 feet in just a few weeks. It grew for five years and a few weeks. What parents, educators and Christians need to remember is that just because we don't see immediate results, it doesn't mean the tree isn't growing.

Plant the seeds, grow the roots, and eventually there will be a tree. Never, ever, give up.

Plant the seeds, grow the roots, and eventually there will be a tree!

Consider him [Jesus] who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:3 TNIV).

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).