In my work, I adopt the tree as a perfect metaphor of the process of development in a child, an individual, a marriage, and as parents. The slow and cumulative growth of the tree from seed to maturity, which reflects the cycles of nature, teaches us to be diligent, patient and trusting as we tend to the natural changes that are part of evolution.
I borrow from the stages of a tree’s life to guide parents in embracing the challenges they face on their journey. The baby, like the seedling, is inherently perfect, with magnificent potential, who needs a nurturing environment (rich soil), time and attention (cultivation), the essential life source of love (water), and limits (pruning) to grow into his or her fullest form. Seasonal changes, like life experiences, including achievements and frustrations as well as gains and losses, are the context that shapes development. It is a challenge requiring both faith and time. If properly tended, the fruitful outcome of good parenting is a child with meaningful skills, admirable values, and resilience in character.
Mindful parenting offers both child and adult an opportunity to develop critical psychological skills and evolve toward greater wholeness. Children, for instance, can learn self-soothing, impulse control, frustration tolerance, delayed gratification, self-reliance, self-motivation and empathy. Moreover parents are called upon to learn and grow beyond their comfort zone. Raising a child inspires, and often requires, them to examine their own unexplored beliefs, assumptions, and practices developed in childhood that may be interfering with their parenting effectiveness.
Marriage presents different challenges than parenting. What they share is a dynamic quality that requires a similar appreciation of growth. As each partner grows as an individual, so too does the marriage as a whole. Such growth can be very difficult at times, but the same attitude that makes good parenting possible—seeing the evolution of the marriage as a process of cultivation that requires love, attention, acceptance, and faith—will help partners experience the fruits of a thriving marriage.
Tending this process is my life passion.