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Music and the Spoken Word: Take care of your garden

The gardens on Temple Square.
The gardens on Temple Square.
Laura Seitz , Deseret News Archives

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This message will be given March 6, 2016.

Every year, as winter finally gives way to spring, the warmer weather and sunnier days draw us outside, inviting us to put our hands in the soil and plant something. Nothing quite compares to the satisfaction of watching something grow: tomatoes or peas, a pine tree or an apple tree, or whatever seeds we may plant. Nurturing a garden takes time, resourcefulness and commitment. As every good gardener knows, consistent care is the only way to get anything to grow.

That is, anything desirable. Weeds, of course, can grow without any attention or nurturing. In fact, weeds and other unwelcome guests in our garden seem to flourish best in an environment of neglect, mistreatment and apathy.

Isn’t the same true in our relationships? Our most important associations — our friendships and family bonds — need nurturing, care and attention. Negligence will always sprout weeds and problems. Of course, some problems are just an inevitable part of life. But when they show up in our relationships, we can treat them like weeds in our garden — we can pull them out and plant something better in their place.

In the words of an old children’s rhyme attributed to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Kind hearts are the gardens,

Kind thoughts are the roots,

Kind words are the flowers,

Kind deeds are the fruits.

Take care of your garden

And keep out the weeds.

Fill it with sunshine,

Kind words and kind deeds.

Such nurturing kindnesses appear in all the little moments of life. One grown daughter remembers how her father always smiled and looked in her eyes when he saw her. He greeted her by saying, “How’s my beautiful daughter?”

He planted seeds of love by spending time with her and listening to her. Because he knew that she loved watermelons, sometimes he would buy one just for her. These weren’t big things, but they were meaningful to her. The seeds of love that were sown in her childhood bore fruit throughout her life.

No matter who we are, we all need love and kindness in order to grow. If perhaps some weeds have worked their way into our relationships, now is the time to clear things up and plant seeds of kindness that can grow into strong bonds of love.

Tuning in ...

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, Sirius XM Radio (Channel 143), and The program is aired live at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at