The lifestyle of a tree

When you stop to look at a tree, do you ever entertain the thought that it has a lifestyle? I’m guessing the answer is likely to be no, as it was for me, up until a few weeks before writing this. Perhaps if the word is turned around, and it becomes a tree’s ‘style of life’, it may not seem quite so strange. After all, trees have a life. But, what about their ‘style’?

In addition, up until about 12 months ago, I would have dismissed any thought of a connection between the lifestyle of a tree and the term ‘Lifestyle Health’, so to explain.

Firstly, it is thanks to reading the ‘common sense’ psychology of Alfred Adler, that an appreciation that all trees have a style of life began, and that their ‘style’ develops from the very moment the shoot pops out of the ground, and which can be likened to the very moment a human being is born into this world.

The sapling that grows out from a mountainside will have a very different style of life compared to the sapling that grows out from a fertile valley, where it will be relatively protected and surrounded by other vegetation, plus have an ample supply of water from a flowing river.

Relating these thoughts to our existance; the significance of the style of life that our children experience, especially during their first 4 to 5 years, is why, the Lifestyle Health Foundation believes we need to learn about encouraging a lifestyle (health) approach with our children: the evidence is continuing to build to demonstrate that such an approach can help prevent many chronic illnesses (physical and mental) prevalent across the globe. What is more, such an approach can also reduce a dependency for medications in those who are ill.  

The following words are our interpretation of those from Alfred Adler (1870-1937), Understanding Life (The Science of Living), 1927/1998. Edited by Colin Brett. Hazelden Foundation

Firstly, when a human being is born into this world he/she, like the sapling is exposed to all environmental ‘elements’. Therefore, it may seem logical or ‘common sense’ to think that in the first few years of life (unlike any animal in this world) the infant is totally dependent on their parents (especially the mother) for survival. According to Adler, this dependency is something that leads the child to develop a natural ‘feeling of inferiority’ ie a sense of ‘weakness‘ in the growing child’s psyche. Adler stated that this ‘weakness‘ also stimulates a ‘striving for superiority’, which again is part of a normal psyche.

He explains that this is all connected with the impact of wider ‘environmental‘ factors that a child is born into, which can be complex. So, for the sake of time and interest, these are some of what Alder believed to be key:

  1. The impact of whether the environment is such that the child is the first born, second/middle or the youngest.
  2. The relevance of whether or not a child is born with an “organ inferiority” (a phrase Adler used to describe a physical disability/illness, and to which I will add a beautiful quote from Adler: “The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.”
  3. Lastly, which for the Foundation is probably one of the most crucial aspects, the love and tenderness between parents and between the parent and child.

It is when issues such as these fail to be recognised or appropriately managed that the development of what he termed the inferiority and superiority complex can start; something to explore another time, perhaps?

Why, you may still be wondering, place emphasis on ‘The lifestyle of a tree’? It is simply in the hope that you and others who have taken the time and trouble to have read this far down (and we thank you for doing so) believe, like we do, that: As a society (including our Governments), we have to do our best to focus on ways that ensure our children enjoy the most loving and nurturing environment possible (both at home and then in early years school). This is so they have the best possible start to life during the first few critical years, which sets them on a pathway to building a strong sense of ‘social feeling/interest’.  

The sapling that grows out from a mountainside will have a very different style of life compared to the sapling that grows out from a fertile valley, where it will be relatively protected and surrounded by other vegetation, plus have an ample supply of water from a flowing river.

Relating these thoughts to our existance; the significance of the style of life that our children experience, especially during their first 4 to 5 years, is why, the Lifestyle Health Foundation believes we need to encourage a lifestyle (health) approach in our children: the evidence is continuing to build to demonstrate that such an approach can help prevent many chronic illnesses (physical and mental) prevalent across the globe. What is more, such an approach can also reduce a dependency for medications.  

The following words are an interpretation of those from Alfred Adler (1870-1937), Understanding Life (The Science of Living), 1927/1998. Edited by Colin Brett. Hazelden Foundation

Firstly, when a human being is born into this world he/she, like the sapling is exposed to all environmental ‘elements’. Therefore, it may seem logical or ‘common sense’ to think that in the first few years of life (unlike any animal in this world) the infant is totally dependent on their parents (especially the mother) for survival. According to Adler, this dependency is something that leads the child to develop a natural ‘feeling of inferiority’ ie a sense of ‘weakness‘ in the growing child’s psyche. Adler stated that this ‘weakness‘ also stimulates a ‘striving for superiority’, which again is part of a normal psyche.

He explains that this is all connected with the impact of wider ‘environmental‘ factors that a child is born into, which can be complex. So, for the sake of time and interest, these are are what Alder believed to be key:

  1. The impact of whether the environment is such that the child is the first born, second/middle or the youngest.
  2. The relevance of whether or not a child is born with an “organ inferiority” (a phrase Adler used to describe a physical disability/illness, and to which I will add a beautiful quote from Adler: “The important thing is not what one is born with but what use one makes of that equipment.”
  3. Lastly, which for me is probably one of the most crucial aspects, the love and tenderness between parents and between the parent and child.

It is when issues such as these fail to be recognised or appropriately managed that the development of what he termed the inferiority and superiority complex can start; something to explore another time, perhaps?

Why, you may still be wondering, place emphasis on ‘The lifestyle of a tree’? It is simply in the hope that you and others who have taken the time and trouble to have read this far down (and thank you for doing so) believe, like we do, that: As a society (including our Governments), we have to do our best to focus on ways that ensure our children enjoy the most loving and nurturing environment possible (both at home and then in early years school). This is so they have the best possible start to life during the first few critical years, which sets them on a pathway to building a strong sense of ‘social feeling/interest’.  

The alternative is: if we (Governments and society) fail our children, in other words, if the tree (whether on the mountain or in the valley) does not have the ‘nourishment‘ for the roots to take hold, nor have a strong community to help safeguard it’s development and growth (or perhaps it is excessively ‘pampered’, accelerating its growth to a great height, casting its shadow over neighbouring ‘trees’ and potentially impacting their development) or very sadly and upsettingly it is neglected, withers away, this can be the consequences (metaphorically) for our children, which we will be working to prevent:

If what you’ve read ‘strikes a chord’ then we invite you to join us as we begin this exciting new venture in growing the Lifestyle Health Foundation, working  collaboratively. After all, as Alfred Adler points out very poignantly; “Life is contributing to the whole” and the significance of this is perhaps even great when added to the phrase attributed to Aristotle “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”.

To end, this quote, yet again from Adler, offers a little insight into the thought that triggered the planting of the ‘acorn’ from which the Foundation will grow: “Someone has to start. Other people might not be cooperative, but that is not connected to you. My advice is this: You should start. With no regard to whether others are cooperative or not.”

And by starting, it is of course possible not only to support a growing tree but help a fallen tree regrow, so long as the roots are re-embedded back into a fertile soil! 

Growing our Tree

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