I was recently blessed by a co-worker with several cuttings of a colorful plant she said would go perfectly at the base of a tree.
Alas, when I placed them in the ground, they died.
Another co-worker who also received several cuttings showed me a photo of her plants, thriving in the shade of what looked like a cherry tree.
“The key,” she said, “is to wait until they have roots.”
Like so many things in life, having roots is the key. We need to not only do the right things, but for the right reasons. We must ground our children in good values and strong character before we send them out to bloom in the world.
More than once, when I have written an article, an editor has said, “What is this about?”
And more than once, I have started from scratch, realizing that good writing is about being factual, but also about leading with what’s important.
The same is true, I think, about launching our children.
When we send them out into the world, we don’t need to be in control of what they major in, what job they take or who they marry — that’s up to them.
What we must do is know that we’ve sent them out into the world with integrity and character, and believe that their lives will come together.
My son Zachary, majoring in exercise science, for example, was at liberty to choose his own course.
Zachary has now brought those skills home for the summer, which means I am now lifting weights and eating kale.
But, beyond all the other tips Zachary has given me to stave off aging and move toward better health, he reminds me again the most important part of staying fit is having a strong core.
Much like roots for a plant, if our core — the muscles in our midsection — is strong, we have a good foundation to move, to lift and to live well.
Having taken his advice, I now know plank, squat, lunge and row.
Having learned the same lesson several times in the last few weeks, I accepted several more plant cuttings and am keeping them well watered, hoping to carefully plant them under the tree in my back yard.
I’m going to wait until they have roots, though, because both people and plants need to be firmly grounded.