The Daffodil Principle

For the month of August I will be taking a sabbatical from my blog. As I prepare to start holidays on Tuesday, I thought it would be nice to leave you with this beautiful story. Some months ago a lovely woman in my congregation sent me this article about the Daffodil Principle. (Thanks, Joyce!) Perhaps you are familiar with it. It originates in the Chicken Soup books, a series that has been very popular with many Boomers over the years. I draw upon Sam Thomas Davies for this story.

Writer Sam Thomas Davies tells about something he read in Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul:

“In one chapter, Jaroldeen Edwards recounts the day her daughter, Carolyn, drove her to Lake Arrowhead to visit a daffodil garden.

Apparently Jaroldeen’s daughter was constantly urging her to visit the daffodil garden with her. It was two hours away and Jaroldeen was not sure she wanted to drive that far, but finally she made the trip. When she and her daughter arrived at the daffodil garden, Jaroldeen couldn’t believe her eyes:

“We turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes . . . There were five acres of flowers”.

There were daffodils as far as the eye could see.

On the land, was a house with a poster that read: “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking”. The first answer was: “50,000 bulbs”. The second answer was: “One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and [a] very little brain”. The third answer was: “Began in 1958”.

This woman had adopted what Jaroldeen would call “The Daffodil Principle”: a lifelong commitment to a goal by taking one action every day.”

Jaroldeen’s story, as recounted by Davies, reminds us that most success stories are the result, not of sudden, spectacular wins or extraordinary actions. Instead, they are about taking one action at a time, committing oneself daily to a larger goal, remaining faithful to that goal through hard work and dedication. They are also about learning to be flexible, trusting the process, and being willing to learn new ways of doing things. The woman who planted the daffodils, one bulb at a time, had to learn about the quality of the soil, how and where to plant the flowers so that they would receive just the right amount of sunlight, and then she had to commit herself to regular watering, fertilizing and weeding of the garden. Not an easy or glamorous job but one that led to a glorious garden that has brought tremendous joy and beauty into the lives of many.

The season for daffodils has passed; but many other flowers are beginning to bloom and there will be others that will blossom throughout August and September. I hope that you will take time to smell the flowers, to give thanks for the hands that planted and nurtured them, and for our loving God who sends the rain and sunshine to help them grow.

Have a wonderful summer, friends, and see you again in September!

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