Once upon a time, there lived a Master who was well known for his wisdom.
Travelers crossed oceans, forests, and mountains to seek solutions to existential questions.
There was nothing the old sage didn’t have an explanation for.
One day one of his disciples was wondering what is needed in order to grow and thrive in life.
Not finding an answer he addressed the wise man: “Master, what is the secret to succeed in life”?
“Help me plant these two seedlings and care about them till they have grown and I will reveal the secret to you”, the old wise man replied.
He then went on: “I will care about one seedling and you will do the same with the other one”.
The disciple, who was determined to find an answer to his query, accepted the Master’s suggestion.
They planted the seedlings and took care of the tiny plants every day.
While the disciple fed his plant with plenty of water and compost, the Master gave his plant neither too little nor too much of them.
Months went by and soon the disciple’s and Master’s bare seedlings had grown into luxuriant and leafy plants.
They looked exactly the same.
One night there was a storm, gusts of wind and hail struck the two plants.
The following morning the two men went to check what was left of their plants.
The disciple was worried as he feared the worst; on the other hand, the Master looked at ease.
The young man was stunned to see that the Master’s plant was intact, while his had been uprooted.
My plant looked exactly as healthy as yours but it was rooted out.
Why was yours unscathed, why did it stay firm and strong?”, the puzzled disciple asked his Master.
“You see, young man, you have fed your plant too much.
Since your plant did not have to do anything by itself, the roots did not dig enough into the ground, therefore a storm could easily fell it down.
What I did, on the contrary, was to provide my plant only with the bare minimum to keep it alive.
In so doing, the roots had no choice, they had to dig deep down in order to meet their needs.
In time they developed such a strong network of roots strong enough to withstand even a raging storm”.
“I got the lesson and the secret to grow and thrive in life”, the disciple replied.
He went on: “We all need help and support, but too much of it prevents us from growing our network of roots to withstand the storms of life”.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Caring for someone is just the same as caring for a plant.
If you don’t feed it, it dies; but if you feed it too much it grows weak.
It’s the right balance that allows us to grow and thrive in life.
It’s really common for parents to be extremely protective towards their children to the extent that they don’t allow them to face challenges on their own.
In doing so they prevent their children from growing, becoming independent, and responsible.
My parents’ extreme protection negatively impacted my childhood and adolescence.
I grew up shy, insecure and I was always looking for my parents’ approval before making a choice.
Only when I started tackling the challenges that came my way by myself did I begin to develop my roots, i.e. my self-confidence, self-esteem, courage, and a strong attitude.
“We face storms in life. We walk into a storm by our fate. But we come out a changed person”. - Avijeet Das
I still ask for help and support from time to time.
I believe everyone needs it, but I have learned the lesson first-hand: help is important, but too much keeps us far away from our personal development, ultimately from living life to the fullest.
In order to stand firm against the storms of life we need to grow our network of roots and it can happen only by facing one challenge after another without allowing anyone else to take over from us.
“It is only during a storm that a tree knows how strong it is”. - Matshona Dhliwayo