Seven Lessons about Relationships from Mother Nature
We are fortunate to live in an agrarian community, particularly in Kentucky where the crops and foliage all around us go through four such gloriously distinct seasons. Some of the things we see in the natural world around us teach us a lot about living things that we can’t see, such as relationships.
Different kinds of relationships have characteristics unique to them. At first glance, there seems to be more differences than similarities in relationships between lovers, friends, parents and children, and relationships and the business community. But all four of these kinds of relationships have a lot in common, similarities they share with other living things.
You may not think of relationships as living things, like a plant or tree. But to me they are all living things: they were born, they grow, they need to be fed, they may get sick, they produce fruit, they reproduce new life, and they will die. As I continually encounter all four kinds of relationships in my office that need some attention, here are some lessons I have learned to teach them from Mother Nature.
Failure to allow wintertime rest leads to relationships getting overheated and burned-out. For example, some lovers fall in love with a pain-killing rebound partner, instead of taking time to rebalance their personal lives after losing a previous partner. Some businesses wear out their employees by not providing enough vacations, sabbaticals, or time away for retraining. Many parents refuse to let go of their children by giving them the space they need when they leave the nest, and again when they get married.
Winter in marriage is complicated in that the two have become one, partners for life, with ongoing closeness typically considered a goal and ideal. Some marriage partners don't give their mates enough privacy, independence, and space, enough winter when they need it. And when might that be? It might be when one gets emotionally or physically ill, one goes to school or starts a career, one's parent dies, one's business gets demanding for awhile, or a child needs one parent’s intense involvement more than the other’s for awhile.
One problem with all relationships is they tend to get stagnant, to forget that they need to adapt and change. That's when it's great to go walk outside and see how natural it is to be rooted, to be fed new experiences, to be pruned and protected from outside threats, and to grow through various phases that may require giving each other more space, and for a season, a different diet. It's all natural, it's all good, and there is a time for every purpose under heaven.