There’s an age old story of two neighbours – one a young, enthusiastic high flying engineer, and the other, an old retired teacher. Both planted a seed in their gardens.


The Enthusiastic Engineer

The enthusiastic engineer, was new to the world of plants, and wanted to do the best he could. He studied about plants, and gave it every possible thing he could. He watered it daily, gave it a lot of fertilizers and kept his garden immaculate so no possible pest could come. He imported a special flowering powder that increased the likelihood of flowers. His colleague told him that there was a study that showed that singing to plants made them grow better, so he even did that! And all the hardwork seemed to pay off. His plant grew big and beautiful very quickly. It produced a lot of flowers and the engineer was very proud of his plant.


The Retired Teacher

On the other hand, the retired teacher, just watered his plant once a week. His plant took a long time to grow. It didn’t produce as many flowers as his neighbour’s plant. And it didn’t have the glamourous growth that the other plant had.

The Storm

But one night there was a huge storm. The wind was strong and there was heavy thunder, lightning and rain. The next morning, the neighbours came out into their gardens. To the engineer’s great dismay, his plant had been uprooted and lay broken on the ground. But to his surprise, the old teacher’s plant still stood strong. It had lost a few leaves, but looked strong and sturdy as ever. He asked the teacher, “I gave my plant every possible thing I could, and took such good care of it. How come my plant fell, but yours is still standing strong?”

The Lesson

“That my friend, is the very mistake you made,” said the teacher. “You gave your plant everything it needed. So it didn’t need to figure out how to become strong on its own. I gave my plant just enough for it to grow. My plant had to figure out how to get its nutrients, so it spread its roots down deep to find water and other things it needed from the soil. On the outside, it didn’t grow as fast as yours, because it was growing deeper down. So when the storm came, its roots were strong to hold it.”


Our Parenting

And many times, this is one of the biggest mistakes we as parents can make, with our children. In our great enthusiasm to give them the best, we try and give them everything we can. We want to make life easy for them – protect them from every possible danger and keep them safe for as long as we can. But the danger with this, is that we are ultimately making them weak. We are not teaching them to figure out things themselves, learn to cope with disappointment and difficulties.


When they go into the world, they are suddenly faced with people being nasty to them, or not getting the promotion they think they deserve, or not being treated extra special on their birthday by their spouse, or even having to just cope with seasons of extra hard work. And it’s then, when your parenting can make a difference to them – will they be able to cope with it, or will they buckle under the storm?

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