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The Parable of the Trees

The Parable of the Trees

I have always loved trees, I grew up surrounded by woodland. I find trees beautiful as well as fascinating. When you look at a tree it has the potential to produce hundreds of little trees per year, and yet such a small percentage of seeds will ever grow into a mighty, majestic tree.

There is an interesting parable here for life. A young sapling is so fragile, it chances of becoming a mature tree are stacked against it. The sapling must avoid being nibbled by rabbits or deer, trampled under foot, or chocked out by the other plants, in the fight for survival. And yet if it manages to survive it will grow to be tall and strong; immovable, able to withstand storms, and able to sustain life in it’s branches. The saplings that survive can last for hundreds of years. The different species of tree require different conditions, different soils in order the thrive.

Children are not dissimilar. It is a sobering thought for any parent to look at the world of adults and see what some achieve, the richness of life experienced by some; and the sadness of others- the homeless man on the corner, the criminal in prison. Each one was born: each one lay as a tiny baby, helpless, innocent and vulnerable- the saying is true “some mothers son”. What is it that nurtures and supports one child to reach the fullness if potential locked up within that tiny baby; and what crushes and kills all hope? Childhood is the making of the man or woman. It is not that we wrap our children in cotton wool. Some children thrieve when challenged, but for others the need a gentler pace. For example Richard Branson’s childhood was very happy and full of love, but his parents would do things that are not conventional (I don’t recommend this!), Branson describes one incidence when he was six: “My mother in particular would do things that you’d get arrested for today. Quite famous situation was when she pushed me out of the car aged six on my way to my grandmother’s house – we were about seven miles away – and told me to make my own way there” In another story he tells how his mother had him ride 300 miles on his bike when he was about ten. But he believes it was things like that which made him who he is.

For me this is one of the reason we home educate. I can tailor each child’s education to their needs. I do not treat my children the same. They are so different: my oldest two, in particular, are totally different people, and they need to be treated as such.

Each child is different, and to parent them is a privilege. I hope and pray I can find the right path, create to right conditions for these little saplings in my care to flourish. And although they need to learn to fight and push through in this life- like the vine that needs poor soil to grow strong- I need to tread carefully, because this is holy ground, and I do not want to trample under foot these precious lives.

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