A retired teacher and a corporate executive lived next to each other. Both had gardens. The retired teacher watered the plants gently when required while the executive was enthusiastically looked after the plants, constantly parenting them, attending to them at every little opportunity.
The gardens flourished. The teacher’s plants were doing well, but the executive’s plants were remarkably lush and greener. Every one who passed by stopped to admire and praise it.
Then, one night, there was a storm accompanied by heavy rains and wind. The following morning, the teacher and executive stepped out to inspect their garden and take stock of the damage.
The executive’s garden was a mess, with the plants uprooted and most of it destroyed because of the flooding. When he looked over the fence at his neighbor’s garden, he was shocked. The plants were still standing strong and didn’t seem very much worse for the storm. He hurried over to the teacher’s house and asked him, “I looked after my plants better than you did yours. How is it possible that mine are damaged and yours are fine?”
The wise teacher replied, “You were more attentive towards our plants and watered them often and because of this, they didn’t really have to work hard. You made it easy for them. I, on the other hand, simply gave my plants just enough water. This encouraged the roots to spread out and seek more and as a result, they went deeper and became stronger. That’s why my plants survived.”
Parenting is quite like gardening. When we shower our children with love, that’s fine. When we give them everything they want and sometimes, even before they ask, they often fail to understand what it takes to earn these things. They take it for granted. Sometimes, it is better to offer guidance instead of giving them what they want. It is fine to teach them to walk but allow them to follow their path and stumble a little. They’ll get back on their feet a little stronger each time, learning the value of making mistakes and become better individuals.
What do you think?
#WednesdayWisdom is a series with short bursts of easy-to-consume wisdom in the form of stories, quotes, anecdotes, and humor.