Room to Grow

I sit down outside the library on a brisk, cool morning. I notice the orange and red colors of the campus buildings were designed to emulate the natural geography of the sedimentary features found near the Bookcliffs and the Monument. The incessant humming of the air conditioners and traffic intrude on this otherwise peaceful setting. Three birds race high above the quad, sharply turning east and out of sight. My attention is drawn to a budding tree close by. Somebody, probably a campus employee, has affixed two wires from the first limb to two stakes, as if the fragile tree needs protection from the extreme weather patterns found in the Grand Valley. The wires are stretched so tight that the tree is showing signs of stunted growth. The absurdity of human behavior brings a smile to my face. However would this tree survive in the wild without help from humans? I realize how this strained, unhealthy tree, trying to grow but stunted by humans who likely had well-intentions is the perfect metaphor for parenting today. It represents the child yearning to thrive but being pushed down by the overbearing helicopter. By no means am I promoting an anarchistic, “anything goes” style of parenting. Guidance and leadership are fundamental parts of growing up. Make sure the tree has room to stretch its roots, plenty of water, and a good pruning every couple of years to get rid of dead limbs and free up space for the living limbs to thrive. My thoughts return to the poor tree in front me. Do I have a pair of wire-cutters in my car?