I live in Connecticut. This means trees… everywhere. Recently, it has occurred to me that dealing with trees is similar to rearing children. Here are some lessons I’ve learned by observing trees and kids.
TREES AND KIDS ARE MESSY
Come early May, trees around here make their presence known. We start to see a lot of this…
And then a week later this…
And there is always a lot of this…
Next up will be tiny inchworms swinging from invisible threads, catching in my hair when I go retrieve the mail!
All of this just reminds me of living in a house full of children. Children drop stuff wherever they go: dolls, toys, Wii controls, hair ties, dirty socks, artwork, crayons, sports gear, food wrappers, flash drives… you name it! To keep the mess at bay, don’t let it pile up.
If I don’t regularly remove the tree debris from my driveway, I’m eventually going to have difficulty driving out. Likewise, if the various childhood supplies are left strewn about, they will ultimately interfere with household movement, and may get lost or damaged. Help your kids by making sure there is a designated “home” for all of their belongings, and then make it a priority to regularly put things away.
BOTH KIDS AND TREES ARE ALWAYS GROWING
Each year I hire a tree company to trim, prune, and even cable limbs and branches. In spite of all the storms, our trees just keep getting bigger. And so it goes with children. In the first year of life alone, babies go through about four sizes of clothes. And it doesn’t end there: teenage boys seem to need new pants every three months.
The best way to cope with this reality is to expect and plan for changing needs.
- Always keep a donation bag on the floor of the closet so you can easily pitch in anything they’ve outgrown.
- At the end of the season, don’t save clothes that “just fit” … they will likely be too small come next year.
- Look ahead and plan for special events to make sure you will have what you need (e.g. a sports jacket for the family wedding, dress shoes for the dance, cleats for spring baseball, etc.)
CHILDREN AND TREES ARE EVER-CHANGING
One minute the trees are just budding, then they leaf out, and in a few short months, they are dropping leaves. The same is true with children: you finally figure out their preferences and dislikes, and suddenly… they change their minds.
To keep your home from becoming a graveyard of unwanted paraphernalia, keep your easily accessible spaces stocked with only current supplies. Your child has decided he’s no longer interested in the flute and now wants to play soccer ? Move the music supplies out of the way and bring in the shin guards. Your daughter will no longer wear bows in her hair? Get them out of the bathroom and make space for the hair straightener! In the garage, put out of season supplies in the back or up high and make sure kids can easily reach and return the items they are using today.
BOTH TREES AND KIDS ARE WORTH IT
Even though trees drop stuff all over my yard, need attention, and cost me money, I have to admit they are truly wonderful. They provide shade, make a beautiful sound in the wind, add color to my life, and attract the birds I love to watch. And although they require an immense amount of work and investment, children also add joy, challenge, wonder, and delight.
With both trees and children, it sure is nice to periodically just sit back and enjoy them.
Do you have trees and/or children in your life? What lessons would you add?