Square watermelons are novelty plants which are, as their name suggests, grown to be cubed rather than spherical. Their cubed shape is attained by growing them in rigid boxes. As they grow under what seem to be normal conditions for a watermelon to grow in, the four sides of the box they’re in begin to exert pressure on their rind. The bigger the watermelon becomes, the more pressure is exerted onto it. The boxes prove to be stronger than the watermelon rind, and the watermelon adjusts its shape to match that of the box it’s in.
The square watermelon is a good metaphor to remember when spending too much time in a specific setting. The places within which you grow, shape the person you grow into. The habits that you’ve developed, the quirks of your personality, and the interests you find joy in, are all influenced by the environment you’re in. This article hopes to remind you to be cognizant of the effect that environments have on your own, and others’, growth.
Don’t Discount How Different Others’ Environments Can Be
With the square watermelon in mind, navigating differences between yourself and others becomes a little easier. You’ll begin to look for root causes for the differences you notice about others, rather than placing blame on them for being different to you. Teaching lessons will become an exercise of discovering what factors specific environments played a role in your subject’s learning, rather than being a shallow attempt at simply differentiating right from wrong.
The watermelons you encounter on the road you’re on will be bent, out of shape, a little crazy looking, rectangular, perfectly round, and everything in between. The judgments you place on those watermelons should always look to the boxes they were grown in first, and then to any shortcomings which are inherent to them. The square watermelon should teach you about the tendency to never blame the individual for the way their environment has shaped them.
The simple reminder the square watermelon should set, is one of being forgiving of the shapes the minds you meet come in. People will have obvious blind spots to some aspects of life, and extreme sensitivities to others. When evaluating another human being, your analysis should be focused on painting a picture of the environment in which they’ve grown, rather than attempting to map them out as one independent entity. In doing so, you’ll find yourself to be a less biased conversationalist. You’ll be more willing accept the differences of those you meet as curiosity will ease the shock of being exposed to their drastic, unexpected quirks. Attempt to figure out why the watermelons you come across are shaped the way they are, and meditate over your findings without seeking to react to them.
Breaking Out of Boxes, and Not Placing Others in Them
The square watermelon can be useful in analyzing your own mind too. Try to find interest in how the environments in which you’ve spent your life shaped the mind that’s reading the words on this page. Have you been able to develop freely into your most natural shape? Or have the walls of the boxes you’ve been placed in shaped the outlook you have on life? Are your political, social, personal, and academic views influenced by the environment you’re in? Are they influenced by the people that you surround yourself with? Do you act as the box in which other watermelons grow to be cubes rather than assuming a naturally cylindrical shape?
Analyze the boxes in which your own mind grows, and the boxes it places other minds into. If you find yourself in a leadership role, strive to allow watermelons to experience as natural of a growth as possible. Protect them from the elements, but not so much as to turn them into cubes. Though the novelty of shaping minds into the shapes you wish to see can be enticing, you should consider the consequences of stunting others’ growth. Square watermelons are forced to be harvested prior to reaching ripeness, in order to preserve their shape. It is a quirk which renders them inedible.
It seems that the only real way to realize whether your mind has been influenced by the environment it’s developed in, is to make a habit of exiting it, and looking at it from afar. Remember, the tendency to be open to others’ cultures, ideas, places, cuisines, sights, and sounds solely serves to benefit you. It is an exercise which places your watermelon in different boxes. Some will be more compact, some freer, and some will be convoluted. All of them will show you how different the box that your watermelon has grown in is to other ones that exist. From there, the decision as to which box you want your watermelon to grow in, is yours to make.
Feature image attribution:
|Author||Flickr user laughlin from Tokyo, Japan|