Here’s a question – Can you become a success just by planting apples?
Doesn’t sound too impressive, but there is a story to be told.
John Chapman was born September the 26th 1774. When he was just a young child, his father went off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The next year his mother died. When his father returned from the war, he had a new wife.
The family moved to a tiny house in Longmeadow, Massachusetts and John’s father and stepmother proceeded to have 10 more children. John went to school for a few years, but by the time he was 20, he was working for an apple grower in Pennsylvania. As John Chapman worked in the apple orchards, he realized that it was a thing of great beauty and a good business opportunity. Apples were easy to grow and could be stored for a long time. They were tasty and healthy and could be used in many ways.
Soon, he bought some land of his own and started his own orchard. But more importantly, he made apple trees available to settlers traveling west so they could plant them at their new homes. After a while, John became restless and decided to take his apple business on the road.
For the next five years, he planted seeds in western Pennsylvania and New York. And when the seedling trees were big enough, he’d sell them. But if someone was poor and had nothing to trade, he’d give the trees for free. He was a very generous man.
Soon, he traveled into the areas that became Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, always using his same method – go into the wilderness, find good fertile soil, plant his seeds in neat rows, build a brush fence to keep the animals out, then move on to another area. He always worked by himself. He never married or had children. He lived at peace with nature and the Native Americans, and he never carried a gun. He was certainly a colorful fellow – with his ragged clothes and never wearing shoes except in the coldest part of the winter. And some reports say he wore a pan for a hat, and he was always on the move.
In 1843, when John Chapman was 69 years old, believe it or not, he walked barefoot all the way from Iowa to Pennsylvania, planting his apple seeds along the way – there is no telling just how many apple orchards John was responsible for starting, but when he died at age 70, stories begin to crop up about this odd man who devoted his life to growing apples. And eventually, he was given the name – that’s right – he was given the name Johnny Appleseed.
Engraved on John Chapman’s tombstone today are these few simple words –
“He lived for others.”
Today’s lesson? So many in life spend their entire lives searching for fame and fortune, while some people don’t even strive or search – but because of the way they live their life, the legacy they leave – fame and fortune find them.
So just what responsibility do we have regarding the way we conduct ourselves and just how it affects others?
Think about this. People may doubt what you say, but they’ll never doubt what you do. And when you walk, what you talk, people will listen. Walt Disney said it this way –
“People look at you and me to see what they are supposed to be. And if we don’t disappoint them, maybe, just maybe they won’t disappoint us.”
I just got this note from Jerry and Kelly Stewart! WOW WEE!