Don’t Be That Tree

The final entry in my week of guest bloggers is my friend Amy from Funny is Family.  I can’t think of a better person to lead this to the finish line!

I’m not sure how exactly I found her blog.  I think I was looking for some humorous family blogs for inspiration and happened upon hers.  I was hooked.  Her sense of humor and the way that she interacts with her family really spoke to me, and I have been a fan ever since!  Since I started following her she has become “famous”, being published in not one but TWO blogging compilations!  I’d like to think it was all because I started reading her blog.  Right? 

This post really fits in with the fall theme too, isn’t she smart like that? 

don't be that tree1One of my favorite things about living in Connecticut is watching the leaves change color in the fall. The phenomenon is gorgeous, and an entire industry is built here in New England upon “leaf peepers,” or people travel for the express purpose of viewing the fall foliage.

My favorite trees are the ones whose leaves turn a deep red color, but I love the yellows and the oranges, too. I adore the clean green tree that clings to its original hue when its neighbors are changing color all around, and the way the infrequent evergreens shine after all of the reds, yellows, and oranges have fallen to the ground.

The very best time is when every tree is a different shade; when they look different, and they are making the shift to winter trees on their own time.

I see people in the same way. I love when those around me act as individuals, allowing their leaves to be whatever color they are meant to be. How boring would it be if we were all green trees? If we all grew at the same rate, and lost our leaves at the same time?

All I want for my kids is for them to be safe, healthy, and themselves. I adore my kids’ quirks, and I hope they wear their uniqueness with confidence always. I struggle with the desire to conform, because sometimes it feels good to slip into the shadows, unnoticed. I find myself mimicking behaviors, or believing something if I hear it enough, or even trying to write like someone else if I read too much of their work. In these cases, I am not being true to myself, and I have to take a step back and find my center again.

Parents: Let your kids be their own tree. They aren’t a bonsai tree for you to clip and mold into exactly what you want them to be. Also, follow my tree metaphor to its obvious conclusion, won’t you?

I’m not saying conformity is always bad. Following social norms makes for a peaceful society, and we can’t all do whatever we want. Sometimes a line of matching trees looks nice. Uniformity has its own beauty, and I can appreciate that. Sports teams would look strange if they didn’t match. Soldiers present a united and powerful front when they look the same. To me, that’s different than letting our individual freak flags fly when we can.

Like people, I’m thankful for trees that look different. I appreciate trees that bloom in the spring or stay green all year long. I see beauty in trees with white, flaky bark or thick, rough bark. I appreciate trees that will bend with the wind and trees that are sturdy enough to hold a six-year-old or even a tree house.

Be your own tree. Lose your leaves when it’s your time. Don’t worry if you’re blooming at a different time than all of your other tree friends. Stand tall on a mountain or stoop gracefully over a river. Grow quietly in a backyard or wildly in a forest. Be whatever tree you are meant to be, and don’t stay green just because everyone else is.

Don’t be that tree.

Amy and her husband made two kids, a four-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy. She does not consider herself a housewife, as she owns no pearls and only one apron. Amy is a Huffington Post and Families In the Loop blogger, has been featured on BlogHer, Aiming Low, Mamapedia, Scary Mommy, Bonbon Break, Mamalode, and In The Powder Room, and is a contributor to the books, “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth”, and  I Just Want to Pee Alone. You can find Amy laughing at the absurdity of parenting on FacebookTwitter, and Google+, and pinning things she’ll never do on Pinterest. She writes embarrassing stories about her family and herself at FunnyIsFamily.com.

autumn-leavesThank you so much for joining us for this fall’s Week of Guest Bloggers!  In case you missed anything, I’ll have a round-up of all the wonderful posts I had this weekend!

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24 thoughts on “Don’t Be That Tree

  1. This is perfect. My son is definitely his own tree (with orange leaves, I am sure), and I hope he always stays that way. I don’t do things to stand out, necessarily, but I do appreciate people who march to their own beat. And yes, the foliage in New England is awesome right now, eh? Enjoy! 🙂

  2. I just love this. There is nothing better than to authentically be yourself. It’s the key to true happiness, I’m convinced. The people I’m always drawn to are people who are just that. As a parent, it can be so hard to let go and allow your little people that freedom, too. It’s vitally important, though. GREAT piece! –Lisa

  3. Love this! Being ourselves is exactly as it should be. Exactly. I’m going to remember this to share it with my son.

  4. This is beautiful—love the metaphor. And I agree with Jean—this actually would make a good Children’s book about embracing your individuality. Just something for you to think about…..

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