What does it take to grow a strong tree beyond water, nutrients and sunlight?

One would believe that all it takes to raise a strong tree would be water, nutritious soil and some light.  Wrong!

Recently, I heard that trees in the Biosphere 2, a controlled environment with the right amount of known ingredients to nurture growth, could not even handle their own weight.  The designers forgot one element – The Wind.  Indoors, they do did not experience the effect of wind, and did not develop the structure to defend against it. They lacked stress wood, normally created as a response to winds in natural conditions.

Almost everyone that I have posed the question, “What does it take to grow a strong tree?” omit to mention wind as a necessary element.  But the moment you make them aware of the impact wind can have on the growth of a tree, its like a light bulb goes on in their head.  They will never forget it. 

This immediately struck a strong connection for me with respect to parents who protect their children from witnessing or experiencing any kind or disappointment or adversity.  I only hope that we don’t forget it very soon in this context as we often do.

I was raised in a very protected environment by my parents and had never really been exposed to the complexities of life until I was in college.  Oh! Boy, was I in for a rude awakening.  In retrospect, I wish that it came to me in smaller doses.  So as a parent, I let my children get exposed to small doses of life as and when it happens.

When I was in high school, I read the saying, “May there be just enough clouds in your life to make a glorious sunset.”  After learning about the positive impact of wind on the healthy growing of trees, I must say that I have a different saying, “May there be just enough obstacles in your life to strengthen your character and commitment to your purpose.”

Up Next: How do you handle disturbing facts?