I'm a tree. Yes, I am.
I consider my mother to be a tree too. A bit like an Oak tree.
Have any of you seen an imperfect Oak tree? I can assure you the answer is 'no'
I understand you're all thinking I've lost my marbles, but no. Let me explain.
A tree is predominant, it has many branches and spreads itself far and wide. It adapts to seasons, it provides shelter for birds to build their nests, provides nutrition and fun. A tree is always there...until something cuts it down.
Now, look at that in conjunction with being a mother or father: we are predominant in a family; our offspring, husband/wife, parents are our branches; we spread ourselves far and wide to help our family members; we adapt to the environment, easing troubles and celebrating successes; we provide shelter for our family; we provide food and fun...until something physically stops us.
It's quite a responsibility, being a tree, and one that I was never really prepared for. As a child, my idea of being a tree was a fun one. I wanted to marry, have a huge white dress and then have a little boy then a little girl. That was being a tree. As I grew older, I was aware that being a tree took hard work and determination.
However, once you become a tree, that's when you realise just how thick your bark is, how fragile your branches are and just how far you need to spread to keep your tree in good standing.
The literacy books, fractions and vectors and religious education, are all very well, but nothing really prepares you for your real, grown up life.
Children need to be taught about The Tree. They need to be taught how to respect that tree, how to appreciate that sometimes the leaves may fall off in the summer when they're not supposed to, and sometimes the landscaper may need to do a little work to keep the tree as perfect as possible to continue the nurturing. Most of all though, children need to know that one day, they will also become a tree. They will grow that thick, thick bark and shed leaves when they shouldn't and it's ok to do that.
Children, and yes, I would include adolescents' too (maybe more so!) need to understand that. A lopsided Oak tree has character, a tree's bark is never too thick (unless you're trying to cut it down) and sometimes it needs attention too.
Don't forget how that applies to you; embrace your differences and your character, a thick skin will not allow anyone to knock you down and always remember to look after yourself and give yourself the attention you need, be it from a beauty parlour or health specialist.
After all, at some point in your life, you will become a tree and you will have branches and will need to spread yourself far and wide, provide shelter and nutrition and adapt to the environment.
It's wonderful being a tree, and you'll be a great big Oak one!