There once was a man who had four young sons.
Wanting to teach them about the dangers of judging things too rapidly, he decided to send each of them on a journey, one after the other, to a distant pear tree.
Each son when in a different season, the first in winter, the second in spring, and so on.
At the end of the year he brought his children together and asked them what they’d seen.
The son who’d travelled in winter described a gnarled, twisted, and barren tree that stood stark and ugly against the land.
The son who went in spring disagreed. No, he said, the tree seemed full of hope and promise, with green buds along its branches.
The third son, who’d travelled in summer, disagreed once more. The pear tree he’d seen was covered in beautiful blossom that looked and smelled divine.
Finally, the last son, who’d made the journey in fall, disagreed again, describing a tree laden with sweet and delicious pears that tasted better than any he’d eaten before.
When each son had spoken, the father said they were all correct, because they’d only seen but one season of the pear tree’s life.
He explained to his sons that it’s foolish and impossible to judge something in this manner.
The essence of something, whether it’s a tree or their fellow man, can only be measured as a whole, at the end of the year, having seen it in its fullness. To make your judgment in winter is to miss the promise of spring, the beauty of summer, and the fruit in fall.
Moral of the story:
Refuse to judge yourself, life, or other people based upon a single mistake or challenging time. Refuse to let the pain of one season destroy the joy of those to come.