The other day I was sitting in a class where we were instructed on using anchors. The teacher used as an example an illustration of propping up newly planted trees with guidelines and stakes. This instructor suggested we need these supports in life too. He went on to say without them. We can be blown over or fall at the slightest test of resolve.
Just as the teacher began identifying what the stakes may represent, I felt a tap on my shoulder. The person behind me whispered, “Actually, once you prop up a tree, it needs support from then on. If you want a strong tree, well rooted and able to defend itself against nature, you must let it stand alone.”
This was very interesting to me; unfortunately for the teacher, I sat there thinking of other examples in nature which gave us life lessons during the remainder of the class.
Here are some I thought of:
When we plant a new crop, we must be patient. New plants don’t grow overnight. Plants, to be strong, need rich soil, water, sunlight, the removal of weeds, and added nutrients. Often, when we want things now and when we can’t wait, it doesn’t work. Nature isn’t like that; anything worthwhile takes time and proper attention to detail. For us to be strong, our growth comes over time.
The greatest forests are created by trees growing near each other, close enough to provide assistance to the neighboring trees. No redwood would have ever gained its stature growing alone. We need others around us; to encourage us through tough times. Then, when we are needed by others, we are there for them. Together we are all better.
Plants are germinated by surrounding vegetation. To have the best of any plant/produce, neighboring plants must be healthy/strong as well. It is imperative that when a crop is pollinated, it is done by neighboring top-quality vegetation. To have valued crops, a farmer needs successful neighbors who will help them. We, too, will do better in life by improving those around us.
My classmate who suggested trees are better off without props is right. It is necessary to learn some of life’s lessons without being sustained by those who think they are protecting us. Our children need to learn to stand on their own. They, like a tree growing without guidelines, will become self-sufficient as a result. We may think we are helping, but we may be taking away their ability to survive.