15 September 2013

27 – Guest Essay By Warren Cassell, Jr.: We Become What We Are Surrounded By

“Hang around thinkers, and you’ll be a better thinker. Hang around winners, and you’ll be a better winner. Hang around a bunch of complaining, gripping boneheads, and you’ll become a better complaining, gripping bonehead.”-
Sharon Lechter & Greg Reid, Three Feet of Gold 

What an honour it is to be writing a guest post on The House Newf today. I am a teen entrepreneur from Montserrat, and this year I set off on a journey to encourage others to listen to what nature has to teach us because I believe that nature offers us a wealth of wisdom, if we are willing to listen. This journey inspired me to publish The Farm of Wisdom: 25 Unforgettable Tales that Will Ignite a Wiser You, a book which not only shares life lessons through memorable stories, but also makes readers more conscious of what animals, plants and nature in general are seemingly teaching us.

Plants and animals have taught me that we become what we are surrounded by! The environment that we are in and the people who we are around play a major role in our development. What follows is a parable about eight guavas who found out the hard way that the atmosphere we are in can either nurture or spoil us.


The beads of sweat glistened down Farmer Oliver’s wrinkled brow could have been clearly seen as he entered his battered shack.  He relieved himself of his burden, a heavy, grey sack filled with guavas, into a creaking wooden barrel in the corner.  The guavas rumbled to the bottom of the barrel.

Drenched in sweat, Farmer Oliver was too tired to even take a wash in the river, much less remember to not put the guavas in the barrel in the corner.  This barrel was where he put all his bad fruit to decompose for fertilizer.  The old barrel had recently been emptied in his small garden plot, so the poor and tired farmer had mistook it for another barrel.

Feeling exhausted, Farmer Oliver dragged his calloused feet outside to another shack, which had his old mattress in the corner.  Within seconds of sprawling out on his mattress he was out cold.  The snoring from his grey bearded mouth could have passed for the sound of a tree being sawed.

In the barrel, there were freshly picked guavas from the farm.  The eight guavas quickly became acquainted with each other and began to have small, useless conversations.  Then the other guavas began having a good time, especially Wordy. 

Wordy talked and talked and all the other guavas seemed to be entertained by the verbal garbage he was emitting (guavas only begin to rot once they engage in useless chatter that serves no good purpose).  He blabbed so much that he had rotted more than half of his yellow flesh away!  Another guava in the sack, Nelson realized what was happening to Wordy and became wary of getting too close to him and the other guavas.  He also became more conscious of what he said.  At one point, the others refused to talk to Nelson because he insisted on having more than small talk.  However, this didn’t bother him. Nelson just started to talk to himself.  It was the only intelligent conversation he could have in that filthy atmosphere.

In the meantime the other guavas, who were absolutely good and fresh only a few moments ago, had became rotten and spoiled.  By separating himself from those rotting guavas, Nelson had managed to stay fresh.

We become what we are surrounded by.


When we come across relationships, friendships, situations and jobs that stifle our growth, we must separate ourselves from the rancid for our own good. We can only flourish if our environment is unsullied.

- Warren Cassell, Jr., September 2013

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The House Newf is from a rugged and beautiful island on the eastern edge of Canada called Newfoundland. He was first identified by a potter with a naturalist's flair, and he does in fact live in a house under the watchful eye of a cat that seems bewildered by the universe at large. That house is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and that's where the House Newf writes fiction and essays on things that add value to his life that may add some value to yours. You can contact him at bobharding80@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter @theHouseNewf, on Instagram @thehousenewf, and like him on Facebook. The House Newf is a unique specimen. Every home should have one.