this one is dedicated to my son Jesse who turned 30 today

A Child like a Cherry Tree
Raising a child is a little bit like raising a cherry tree – make sure, it is grounded firmly so it can develop strong deep roots that will secure its survival. Try your best to provide a good environment where it gets the energy it needs. Talk gently to it, making sure it always feels bathed in love, but don’t over-do it - interfering too much can be just as damaging as neglect. Provide what it needs reliably, rather than what you want when you feel needy. Make sure you are around all the time for special care when necessary, and for protection from harsh storms or unexpected shocks. Know that it will have to endure some rough times. Early on, while it’s still weak and vulnerable, it needs some support – it can’t carry its own weight yet, it bends too easily and could break. Hope for the hard times to hit when it is big and strong so it can weather them. Be prepared that it will take a long time until it can survive without your help – and don’t expect any gratitude when it reaches maturity. You do it because it gives you joy any time you look at it and watch it grow. If you don’t want to take on such a big and long-term commitment, I suggest you get a poodle or a cat instead.

If it’s healthy and sufficiently cared for, it will blossom and give you cherries – when its time has come. Nothing you do will speed up the process of maturation. Don’t expect that you know it all. It’s a big challenge – be willing to learn. If you don’t care for it properly, you may stunt its growth – it may end up weak or crippled and never blossom or bear fruit. Some injuries early on can never heal - and so it might break during the first storm. Know that whatever you do, it will never ever give you potatoes, even if that’s what you need. At best it can be what it is. When it bears cherries everybody can enjoy them, not just you. Even though you have put so much effort into it, you don’t really own it. It lives and grows because that is its nature. It doesn’t live for you.