The Story of The Chinese Bamboo Tree
The parable of the Chinese Bamboo Tree teaches us lessons about patience, faith, perseverance, growth and development and importantly… human potential!
Like any plant, to flourish the Chinese Bamboo Tree requires nurturing – water, fertile soil, sunshine. In the first year, there are no visible signs of activity or development. In the second year, again, no growth above the soil. And the third and fourth, still no signs. Patience is tested and we begin to wonder if our efforts will ever be rewarded.
Finally, in the fifth year – voila! There is growth…and what growth it is! The Chinese Bamboo Tree grows 80 feet (nearly 30m) in just six weeks!
So the question is: Does the Chinese Bamboo Tree really grow 80 feet in six weeks? Did it lie dormant for four years only to grow exponentially in the fifth? Or, was the little tree growing underground, developing a root system and a stable base strong enough to support its potential for outward growth in the fifth year and beyond?
If the tree had not developed a strong unseen foundation, it could not have sustained its life as it grew.
Just as a house needs to have a strong foundation to survive. The same principle is true for people, success, life purpose and life in general. People, toil towards their dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenge, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while those who chase the “quick buck” are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth. Remember the old saying: “Out of adversity comes opportunity.”
Had the farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the Chinese Bamboo tree’s growth as surely as a fledgling bird is doomed if it is freed from its struggle of breaking through the shell prematurely. The struggle in the egg is what gives the little bird the strength to grow and flourish, just as tension against muscles as we exercise strengthen our muscles, while muscles left alone will soon waste away.
The Chinese Bamboo Tree is a perfect parable to our own experience with personal growth and change. And change is never easy. Often, signs of progress are slow, frustrating and unrewarding at times.
But it is so worth it….especially if we can be patient and persistent. This is critical in attaining new skills, new direction, new path, new beginnings – in developing ourselves and others. It is our ability to stay persistent even when we are unable to see any growth on the surface…. just like the Chinese Bamboo Tree.
The Challenge We Learn from the Chinese Bamboo Tree
Keep your faith in this important work. We live in a quick-fix society. We get frustrated if we have to wait more than 2 minutes for service or a stop light to change. We want instant solutions to every complex problem and every fractured relationship. In short – we want it all now!
The growers of the Chinese Bamboo Tree have faith that if they keep watering and fertilizing the ground, the tree will break through. Well, you must have the same kind of faith in your own bamboo tree, whether it is to run a successful business, living your life goals and dreams, raise well-adjusted children, or what you need. You must have faith that if you keep chipping away, taking action each day, surrendering your will and giving gratitude daily, that you too will see rapid growth in the future.
This is the hard part for most of us to stay the distance, see it through to the end. We get so excited about the seed idea that’s been planted inside of us that we simply can’t wait for the crop to happen. Therefore, within days or weeks of the initial planting, we become discouraged and begin to second guess ourselves, or worse, quit.
Sometimes, in our self-doubt, we dig up our seed and plant it elsewhere, in hopes that it will quickly rise in more fertile ground. We see this very often in people who change employment every year or so. We also see it in people who change partners and even spouses in the pursuit of greener pastures. More often than not, these people are greatly disappointed when their Chinese bamboo tree doesn’t grow any faster in the new location.
Other times, people will water the ground for a time but then, quickly become discouraged with lack of interest and enthusiasm taking hold. They start to wonder if it’s worth all of the effort. This is particularly true when they see their neighbours having success with other trees (competition). They start to think, “What am I doing trying to grow a Chinese bamboo tree? If I had planted a lemon tree, I’d have a few lemons by now.” (2nd guessing themselves)
Sadly, what they fail to realize is that pursuing your dream is a sure thing if you just don’t give up. So long as you keep watering and fertilizing your dream, it will come to fruition, just like the Chinese Bamboo Tree. It may take weeks. It may take months. It may even take years, but eventually, the roots will take hold and your Chinese bamboo tree will grow. And when it does, it will grow in remarkable ways and your foundation is so strong even the strongest winds cannot knock it over (Sustainable).
Well, you have a Chinese Bamboo Tree inside of you just waiting to break through. So keep watering and believing and you too will be flying high before you know it.