Sarah’s Diary Episode Fifteen

Jenny was excited for today’s class. While she had introduced Harriett earlier to the class, this was the first time she appeared in a diary entry. Of all of the siblings, Harriett seemed to be the most forward thinking. While others were good at innovations to solve problems, Harriett saw problems that others did not see. She was an embodiment of the quote from George Bernard Shaw that she had used in the previous class.

“The diary entry today is our first mention of Harriett. You may recall that she was more assertive than the other siblings. Assertiveness when combined with a vision of what might be can be a powerful force for innovation. Here’s the diary entry.”

“Harriett came up with a great idea today. Why don’t we start a seed   library as a record of what was growing in our community each year? She explained why scientists may need that information someday. She’s going to talk with our teacher about her idea.”

After Jenny finished the diary entry, she asked the class why a seed library might be important to us today. Students were unsure. “You may have heard of heirloom plants. They are quite popular for the taste of the vegetables they produce. I doubt if any of you have ever tasted a real tomato. We have bred taste out of tomatoes in favor of looks.”

“But there’s a more important value of these heirloom seeds. They are biodiverse and because of that, their gene structure can be useful in developing new medicines.”

“Can you imagine a 13 year-old child having such a vision? She didn’t know about genes, obviously, but she had an intuitive sense of the value of information the seeds might provide. She had a very high level of awareness that is rare in people.”

“What we know now is that having a problem-solving mindset can present challenges for developing the vision for seeing the bigger picture. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘being too close to the problem’. That’s the challenge for many innovators. Thomas Edison was a great innovator but not a visionary. He rarely saw the bigger picture of what his innovations might lead to.”

“You might wonder where that vision comes from. I’m not sure anyone knows, but one thing I’m certain of is that visionaries have insights that go beyond any field of study. When we ask you to choose a major, we are limiting your vision to one subject area. As you will see later, Harriett continued to be a visionary throughout her life.”

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“Most of us, most of our lives, are asked to live small. Most of us quit trying very young to live the bigness we know is possible.”– Janisse Ray (Author)

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