When I think of bonsai trees, I think of a cute little Japanese plant in a cute little container. Bonsai trees are pretty and all because they are shaped by a gardener, who tends to it daily, pruning it, watering it, making sure that it receives all the nutrients that it needs. We are like Bonsai trees as well. Growing up, we can be shaped by our parents, friends, or society. Although the Bonsai trees fall into categories based on their shape, it is most important to let them grow and express their individuality, their own beautiful form. Same goes for us. Yes we are shaped and inspired by what we have grown up with, but sometimes our way of living is restricted because of how we were raised.
Without a gardener, the bonsai tree is raised by nature. However, it may not be as pretty and cute as the other Bonsai trees in the the gardens because it is not pruned. Same goes for us, we are shaped by the world that we grew up in, sometimes for the good, and even sometimes for the bad. It is good to be shaped by the others around us. The only problem is, each individual has a different idea of shaping us. It is not every day that you see ten identically shaped Bonsai trees by ten different people. Which means that for us, the people who influence us and encourage us may all have different ideas in how they want to see us grow.
I am just going to compare my life to a Bonsai tree. Like a Bonsai tree, I am shaped by a gardener, which is the community that I grew up in. My parents, my religion (Christianity), and the city I grew up in (Huntington Beach) all take turns in acting as my gardener. Bonsai trees are pruned by their gardeners, as I am pruned my my parents, religion, and society. I am introduced to different ideas and each of my three gardeners has their turn of influencing me to go one way or a different way. Of course, pruning is done to keep a plant healthy and that is the same for me. I am pruned of my bad habits, slowly and carefully. And from that point on, I am able to grow and blossom in areas where I was once weak and unhealthy.
Taking care of Bonsai trees is an art. Each Bonsai tree has the potential to become something special and express its individuality just as we have the potential to do something great because of our unique selves. I am thankful for the gardeners in my life, who take their time out of the day to prune me so I can be healthier mentally, physically, emotionally, whatever it may be.
And last but not least, we are also gardeners of the Bonsai trees. Although some of you may not think this, you are someone else’s gardener. Be careful and aware of how you choose to take care of your little Bonsai trees. Do not keep them from growing and blossoming into their unique selves, just prune the areas that need pruning and let the Bonsai trees grow into their unique shapes.