Flowers, other than the ones that are involved in producing fruits and vegetables, don't serve much practical purpose in this world. Yes, they're vital to the Circle of Life that, much like the Force, surrounds us and penetrates us and binds us together. (What, incidentally, does it say about our culture that both the Force and the Circle of Life are now registered trademarks of The Walt Disney Company? Think about that.) And yes, they're a good way for forgetful spouses and children to communicate affection at times like Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, and on wedding anniversaries. But really? Come on. Flowers pop out for a few months in spring and early summer, stir up people's allergies, then wither and vanish. If anything, a flower is a nuisance, right?
Except that sometimes flowers provide a splash of color where one is badly needed. Sometimes seeing a flower brings a smile to the face of someone who's feeling down. Sometimes a nicely arrayed bed of flowers is the perfect complement to a monument or memorial that honors our shared or individual histories. Sometimes a line of flowers is a pleasant reminder that the world, when we occasionally get out of its way, is a beautiful, welcoming, sheltering place.
For all of these reasons and more, sometimes a city or town needs a few flowers here and there. Here at TestOut Continuing Education, one thing we're proud of is belonging to a community. And one of the ways that we express that pride, once a year in May, is for all of the employees in the company to spend half a day on their hands and knees planting flowers at various locations around Pleasant Grove, Utah, where TestOut's world headquarters is located. It's a small gesture, but an important one, a token of our appreciation of where we live and work.
This is TestOut's 25th anniversary year, and one thing we've learned in that time is that a strong sense of belonging is an important element of a successful business strategy. Frankly, that's a valuable lesson for anyone. No matter who you are or where you work, your business couldn't thrive without a lot of sometimes largely invisible support and accommodation from the community where you're located. That's why all of us will be spending at least half the day tomorrow, May 3, planting flowers. Because no company is an island. And a flower can express that in so many beautiful ways.
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