The Squash’s Fight to Grow

A few years ago researchers at Amherst College performed a fairly simple experiment that produced some interesting results. They planted a squash seed, fed and watered the plant until it grew a squash about the size of a person’s head.

They then fit a band around the squash which was attached to instruments that would tell them how much pressure the squash exerted as it tried to grow against the constraint of the band. They expected that the squash would exert as much as 500 pounds of pressure. Sure enough, in a few weeks the squash was doing just that.

But the squash was not finished with growing. In two months it was producing 1,500 pounds of pressure. When it got to be 2,000 pounds they had to reinforce the bands.

The experiment ended with the squash pushing 5,000 pounds of pressure. But it didn’t end because the squash stopped growing. At 5,000 pounds it had broken the bands that had been measuring its force.

Further, when they cut the squash open they found it was full of incredibly dense fibers. It was the squash’s determination to grow that created the ‘muscle’ to push against its restraints. They also discovered that the plant had sent out over 80,000 feet of roots searching for the strength it needed to grow against the force holding it back.

This story was taken from a church sermon our priest delivered in May 2015. Its relevance to his message of faith is strong enough. But I’m sure it moves you as it did me with poignant levels of instruction in so many areas of life and business. We learn about its external show of strength to break the bands. We learn about its internal strength and the fiber density it developed so it could grow. Finally, we learn about the root system it created for foundational strength. I count 7 applications of this message. What do you see?


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