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Essay: More Light

About a year ago, some friends gave me a lovely plant called an “Anthurium.”

I’d never had one before and learned that the red, heart-shaped blossoms aren’t really blossoms but another kind of leaf. I also learned that they need indirect light.

Following these instructions, I kept the plant on a table near an east window—but never in the direct sunlight that pours in for part of each day.

And for a year, my Anthurium sat on the table looking exactly like it did the day my friends brought it to my door.

It didn’t die but it didn’t thrive either.

No new leaves, no new anything.

So I decided to break the rules and set it alongside my other plants on the long hope chest in the direct light. In a week, my Anthurium was sending out new leaves!

Which confirms my belief that plants—and people—generally do better with more light. With more praise, with more love.

I recalled a quote from Charles Schwab who said, “I have yet to find a person… who didn’t do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”

I could have used more approval and less criticism when I was growing up. I could use more now. I could give more now, too.