Think about a time in life where you made a change. Maybe you quit smoking, stopped eating red meat, tried a new restaurant (perhaps one you have driven past for months or years, but never went inside), visited a new destination, or picked up running. I bet you didn’t wake up one day and just decide to do that something new. I bet if you look hard at how you arrived at that decision you will see a series of little moments where you were enlightened about the subject. Did you receive a consistent coupon in the mail for the new restaurant? That repetitive marketing combined with your friend talking about the delicious lunch they had at the same restaurant establishment, a radio ad you heard while driving home from work, and the sudden notice of the sign to the restaurant as you were running errands all add up as data points in your subconscious. And then one day it clicks, and you decide to try the restaurant. It’s the consistent PLANTING OF THE SEED that finally initiates you taking action or in other cases, a person will make a change depending on the subject matter and message being received. When a seed is planted numerous times and the message finally clicks, it results in a person changing their actions or living a different way expressing a different treatment toward something they never paid any matter to before. Sometimes it takes “many seeds” before a plant will root itself.
Let me share how this happened for me. I have been a vegetarian (no meat, but I still ate cheese, eggs, and fish) since I was 15 years young. I knew a lot about the animal agriculture business and its treatment of animals from what I read and researched. Knowing all I knew, I just couldn’t give up those last three items. People would ask me after hearing about my love for animals, why wasn’t I a vegan (which is no animal products at all). My comment was always, “I know, but I love cheese, and don’t like any of the substitutes.” It was a true statement. I had tried the substitutes and I couldn’t do it. Fast forward 23 years and I continue to hear more and more about the health effects of eating cheese and eggs. At this time I have given up fish, but that dang cheese still had me stumped. Then one day I was out to eat with a friend and she told me about a video she saw of how cheese is made. I don’t know what happened, but I can visually see myself sitting in the booth of that Tropical Smoothie Cafe and the light bulb clicked on. I had seen similar videos, heard the stories countless times before – the seeds had been planted – and why this one encounter those seeds took root, I don’t know, but those seeds suddenly bloomed and I became a full vegan from that day forward.
You just never know when someone is going to hear something they have heard numerous times before and it suddenly makes sense. And that is why education is powerfully important and essential to change. People don’t see the immediate result of teaching, and honestly, you won’t. You have to do it consistently and over time before you see any results. It takes repetition for a seed message to take root and make a difference for people, animals, and the environment. People and children don’t always believe everything they hear. But if they hear the same message consistently over time it clicks, and they begin to listen and learn. Eventually. the “seed” takes root and a new way of being (kinder to each other, more compassionate to wildlife, better treatment of pets, no more littering, and they begin to recycle). At a recent outreach event a young lady came up to EPIC Animals Outreach’s (EPIC) booth, and we had a lovely conversation about the importance of education. She spoke to me about her understanding of a particular subject and said this, “It was the time in educating that made the difference and if it weren’t for learning about the issue I wouldn’t know.”
EPIC is committed to growing and making an impact. We hope you see the value and will support the work that we do. We want to get into schools and stay, to be that constant, consistent presence for teaching kindness to witness the impact over time as we continually plant seeds one student, classroom, grade at a time. Please consider making a donation for our education outreach programs. Thank You!