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A Sunflower Story August 6, 2009

Posted by markgeil in Family.

Once upon a time, Rebekah planted a sunflower seed. She chose a sunny spot right in her front yard so she could check it every time she left the house. The sunflower grew and grew, straight and tall, and Rebekah watered it almost every day. Every time the sunflower grew a few inches, a new set of leaves popped out of the stem, each a little bigger than the leaves below. The stem got thicker, too. It would lean back and forth when there was a breeze, but mostly it pointed straight up to the sky.

The sunflower kept growing until it was about half as tall as Rebekah. She wondered if it would get even taller, and her daddy told her that some sunflowers could get as tall as him! Rebekah thought it would be silly to have a giant sunflower right there in front of her house. A new set of leaves popped out, and Rebekah could hardly wait for the day the big yellow sunflower would grow on the very top.

Then, something bad happened. One day, some neighbors came to visit. As they were leaving, the five-year-old stopped to look at the sunflower, which was just the right height for a five-year-old to look at.  Five-year-olds are very curious people, and it did not take long for this five-year-old to decide to touch the big leaves at the top, and then tug on the big leaves at the top, and, finally, to pluck the big leaves at the top.

Rebekah’s daddy said the poor sunflower had been decapitated. She did not know what that word meant, but she did worry that her sunflower might not grow anymore. It looked sad, and when the lower leaves started turning brown, Rebekah got sad too. Her family went on vacation for a week, and she mostly forgot about the sunflower, but when they got home, it didn’t take long for her to notice it. No more leaves had popped out of the top. The sunflower really had stopped growing.

No one could decide what to do with the decapitated sunflower stem. It seemed mean to just pull it up. It rained a lot the next week anyway, so the stem just stayed there in the front yard, no taller than a five-year-old.

One day, Rebekah’s mommy noticed something. The sunflower stem was not getting taller, but it was changing. A new branch had appeared out to the side from one of the lower leaves. The sunflower was actually growing again! Sadness turned to excitement as the new branch grew and new leaves emerged.


The sunflower looked a little funny now, but it was finding a way to grow, and soon it found a way to fulfill its purpose. It wasn’t the biggest, and it was kinda crooked, but in the right light you could see it: a flower.


Small yellow petals looked bright against all the green. If you sat down on the sidewalk and looked, it was almost like the little sunflower was trying to smile.


Rebekah’s sunflower won’t win any awards. Most people would look at it and think it’s pitiful, but to Rebekah and her family, it is a beautiful reminder. Life is not always easy, and things don’t always go like we plan. Sometimes our leaves get plucked. Sometimes we stop growing. Sometimes we lose sight of the purpose for which God created us. Those are times when we need to remember: if the sunflower could find a way, there will always be a way for us.





1. Dot Geil - August 11, 2009

Mark, This is a wonderful story. Please consider making it into a children’s book.

2. ausurfer - June 9, 2011

Great story. I grew sunflowers in my garden when I lived in WV (I’m an Aussie, back home in Australia now). Sunflowers always make me happy.

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