On Parenting: Do You See Roots or Fruits?

The last few days we had some painters in our home, painting a lot of stuff.  What I thought would take me a few days of after-work hours turned into more than 50 man-hours for these professionals.

Since they were in our home for so long they got to know our family a bit.  We shared meals with them and talked quite a bit. It was fun.

Last night was the last night they were in our house.  Before they left, the owner of the company expressed his thoughts about our kids, our family and our home.  He was very impressed with our family, and our kids.  More impressed, perhaps, than we were.  It’s so easy for us, as parents, to lose sight of any success we have as parents, and then an angel comes along and subtly (or not-so-subtly) reminds us that we are indeed doing a good job.

As I went to bed I thought of an analogy… this is the first draft, which will probably go nowhere, but if I make time, one day I could see storyboarding it to become a kids book (or a parents book, written like a kids book). Enjoy:

There was a certain peach tree people would walk by and admire. The peaches were beautiful, they were ripe. The travelers took the peaches and ate them, and remarked how amazing they were.

Everyone who walked past the tree could see the beauty and taste of the flavor, and all were greatly impressed.

The tree, however, didn’t recognize the depth of the beauty, and couldn’t appreciate the height of the flavor.

The tree was busy focusing on pulling nutrition from the ground through its roots. It focused on the underground, unseen, dirty and usually unappreciated work of finding nutrition. There is nothing glamorous about this work. No one walks by a tree and says

“wow, those roots underground must be amazing, and healthy, and doing the right thing. I think these must be the best roots around.”

Above ground, the tree was busy focusing on simply staying alive – getting nutrition up the trunk to each branch. The tree worked to have leaves which could pull nutrition from the sun. In early spring it showed blossoms, but those mostly needed nutrition and didn’t provide anything (except beauty) to the tree. The tree worked hard to keep the blossoms healthy.

As time passed, the blossoms became more demanding, even weighing down the branches, as they developed into peaches.

The peaches demanded more and more nutrition, and became heavier, and the tree continued to provide nourishment. It was too busy doing what it was meant to do that it didn’t recognize the beauty of the changes – from nothing to blossom to fruitling, on its path to a nourishing fruit. From green to the beautiful red and orange colors of the peach.

The tree continued on, as it always had. Get nutrition from leaves. Get nutrition from the ground. Ignore pesky bugs, which the tree couldn’t do anything about. Do the job at hand.

While this was happening, travelers saw a tree, with brown branches and bark, rich green leaves, and commented how beautiful the peaches were. They could see the beauty. They appreciated the beauty. They knew that in a short time, the peaches would be ripe and delicious.

When the day came, people picked the peaches, and enjoyed them, and shared them. They loved them, and were happy with the tree, and were grateful that the tree would produce for years to come.

Isn’t this the way it is with us, many times, as parents?

How many of us have gotten comments about our children – how cute they are, how well-behaved they are, how fun they are, how special they are, etc. We all get slightly different comments. Sometimes we think “yeah, but you don’t see them fight at bath time,” or “yeah, but you should try getting them down to bed,” or “yeah, but _______.”

We act like the tree… focusing on the dirt and the labor. We need to – that is our role as parents. Hopefully we can also see and appreciate what others see so quickly – the beauty that comes from the labor.

These, our children, are the fruits of our labor. The fruits show that the labor was good and the system was healthy. Even though we see dirt, and where we work is sometimes dark, and we are busy giving of our time and energy, and we feel tired, and sometimes we don’t see the changes, we must recognize the beauty. We must realize we had an important part to play in it.

Rough draft, but cool concept. Thoughts? I had a bunch of follow-up thoughts (where the analogy could go), which I’ll try to capture in the comments below.

1 thought on “On Parenting: Do You See Roots or Fruits?

  1. Becky

    That was beautiful! My friend shared it with me. I think you should DEFINITELY make it into a parents’ book that reads like a childrens’ book. It made me cry. And feel proud of my labor and my children! Thank you, we all need to be reminded.
    – Becky

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