If You Pick Moss, Don’t Expect Blueberry Pie

Editorial by Robert Kirwan

   I think I am one of the luckiest people in the world because of the time I am able to spend with young, vibrant people who are not afraid to demonstrate their excitement and zest for life. Personally, I would take a person with passion and enthusiasm over a person with skills and talent any day of the week. You can teach and develop skills, but you cannot develop a love of life and an optimistic attitude. These are character traits which become the very fabric of a person’s being and which emerge at all times during work or play. Furthermore they are traits that everyone is born with and you never lose them.

   As a classroom teacher, and now as an Independent Education and Career Planning Advisor, I come across far too many children and young adults who are on a road to despair unless someone can find a way to rekindle the fire inside and change their attitude towards learning and indeed life itself! In other words – bring back the zest for life we all see in children during the first years of their life. Bring that feeling that everyday is filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities.

   Unfortunately, society is turning out too many children and young adults who feel as if they are “entitled” to things without ever having to put much effort or thought into their work. They are just along for the ride and expect everyone around them to cater to their every wish and hand them life on a silver platter.
   Whenever I come across anyone – young or old – who wants to experience all of the good things in life, but are unwilling to do the work that comes first in order to be in a position to enjoy those things, I am reminded about the story of a lazy boy who went with his mother and grandmother on a blueberry picking hike into the woods.

   First of all, the boy made sure he selected the smallest basket he could find. Then, while the others worked hard at picking berries, he ran around the area, playing with the squirrels and chasing butterflies. When it was time to leave, he panicked and filled his basket mostly with moss and then topped it off with a thin layer of berries so that it looked full. His mother and grandmother commended him for his tremendous effort.

   The next morning his mother baked pies and she made a special saucer-sized pie just for her son. He could hardly wait for it to cool. Blueberry pie was his favourite! He could see the plump berries oozing through a slit in the crust, and his mouth watered in anticipation. However, as he sunk his fork into the flaky crust, he found mostly….moss!

   That day the boy learned a valuable lesson he would never forget. If you “pick blueberries” you can expect blueberry pie. But if you pick moss, you can only make moss pie.

    So remember, whether you are in school or at work, if you have enthusiasm and if you are willing to put in consistent effort along with passion, you will reap the rewards. If, on the other hand, you are lazy and prefer to take short-cuts, you should not expect to achieve the same results.

   And so as our young people approach the conclusion of another school year it is once again a time of reckoning. The marks on the report card will give you a pretty good indication of just how hard you worked this past year. If you did your best at all times and always approached new tasks with enthusiasm and excitement, then you should be satisfied with the results.

   However, if you slacked off most of the year; spent time going out and having fun instead of working harder on assignments and projects; chose to go to the movies instead of studying for those exams, you deserve low marks and hopefully you too will learn a valuable lesson about life.

   I would ask all parents to share this story with their children. Keep a copy some place handy in case you have to prove your point about the benefits of hard work. Keep reminding them that in this life, “If you pick moss, don’t expect blueberry pie!”

   Have a good week!


The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant