Seeds of Potential: Exploring Similarities and Differences with Children

The following post is a “best of” from the archives and was written by in 2011. Enjoy!

As children grow older their social world begins to expand and to take an ever-increasing role in their life and minds. As a classroom teacher and a parent I have witnessed first hand the enormous benefits that come from the explicit introduction of social and emotional skills to children. When children have the language and skills that are necessary to effectively express themselves and to navigate through a variety of circumstances, they have more energy and time to dedicate to playing, learning and growing.

Families that explore these concepts together develop a shared language and lines of communication that will become ever so important as children become exposed to more complex social dynamics.

Seeds of Potential

Seeds of Potential is a learning experience that helps to explore what makes us all unique as humans, what we all have in common, and how we can support each other along the way.

  1. Start out by presenting different (the more variety the better) apples to your child. Ask them to describe what they see. It may even be fun to get out a magnifying glass and spend time noticing the small details.
  2. Once you have had a chance to discuss the differences between the apples, it is helpful to talk about how humans are similar to apples. We all look different and are unique in our own special ways.
  3. Next, cut open all of the apples so that the seeds are visible. Point out that although on the outside, the apples appear to be very different, on the inside they all have seeds of potential. Each seed within the apple has the potential to grow into an amazing apple tree. Again you can help your child to make the same connection to people. Although we all come in different colors, shapes and sizes, we all have special seeds of potential within us.
  4. To explore this concept on a deeper level, print out the Seeds of Potential questions. It is helpful to paste them into a notebook that can be used for ongoing family writing times. Before getting started, read the questions together and make sure to discuss any words or concepts that may be new to your child. Next, take some time to answer all of the questions. It is very powerful for parents to work alongside their children—the more honest you are in your responses, the more meaningful your follow-up discussion will be. If your child does not feel comfortable writing independently, offer to take dictation and write down his ideas for him.
  5. End by sharing your answers together as a family. Try to relate your answers to specific examples from your lives. It is helpful for children to realize that we all have seeds of potential that we are trying to develop in order to become better people.


For more inspiration…

  • by Jamie C. Miller
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  1. This is a really neat idea especially for the younger ones to begin to put into words complex thoughts and feelings. I’ve found recently having dinner table cards at each meal has meant deeper conversations not just then but for days after and at random times.
    Melitsa´s latest post: 74. What’s the big deal about blocks?

    • Melitsa – Your comment really resonates with me. It is the little conversation starters that open the lines of communication on a whole new level and gives you a shared language to refer back to over time. I love the dinner table cards. You can make your own or there are some great sets that can be purchased. Table Topics have been our favorite.

  2. I watched a special called “The Botany of Desire”, and they were mentioning that each apple seed does not make a copy or replica of the apple it comes from, but instead, each seed is an ancestor apple tree and each seed will make a different ancestor tree. Some sweet and some tart. The only way you can make the same apple tree is to make a cutting from the kind of tree you want to duplicate. Anyway, I found that interesting, and might lend well to your story that each child is not like the parent, and is never intended to be. 🙂
    Felicity´s latest post: Not so HEALTHFUL RECIPES: Honey Coconut Vanilla Cupcakes

  3. Hi Felicity – I love that analogy 🙂 It adds such a lovely element to the story that can be shared with children. I look forward to looking up “The Botany of Desire.”

  4. I think really talking and communicating with your children is so important. I mean more than the “How was your day?” Using conversation starter such as this are awesome as well as movies, books, current events and personal situations. I have 4 adult children who have great conversation skills because talking was one of our favorite forms of entertainment and enrichment!
    Great exercise!
    Successful Woman’s Resource Center´s latest post: How to do less laundry

    • It is so nice to hear about the great conversations that you continue to have with your adult children. As my daughters get older I realize just how important these kind communication building activities are. Thank you for your comment 🙂

  5. Such a lovely activity. Thank you.
    Angie (TheActorsWife)´s latest post: building an "old school" social network

  6. I love this! I like the comment from Felicity too. We have two children who are adopted, as well as four grandchildren who are adopted – all trans racial adoptions. I will be checking out the link she included!

  7. What a fantastic idea. My girls are similar in age to Mariah’s and she’s so right- as they get older, all the social navigation becomes so tricky. I am so glad to be reminded, despite their ages, to use tangible items to talk… Always so much more powerful that way. Thanks as always Mariah for a wonderfully thoughtful idea!
    Stacey´s latest post: Rest in Peace

  8. I love this! Great ideas! And i love the little bit taken out of the green apple in the photo!!! 🙂
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: Happy Holidays! 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway for 2011

  9. so cute!
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: Happy Holidays! 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway for 2011

  10. Having trouble pinning this – it won’t give me an image? Trouble on my end maybe? GREAT article and GREAT thoughts! 🙂 Thank you! 🙂

  11. another idea- kids need to know that people can change- I always labeled myself the ‘singer’- so that is what I did (sometimes to the neglect of other things)- now I have a severe vocal injury that limited my singing. It is devastating, At least I am an adult and I can see beyond my injury (sort of)
    priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)´s latest post: overworked & uncommitted married priest, bitter & busy wife, sullen & sinful children- Our Future?


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