It was a lovely evening. Raju and his uncle were taking a stroll in a garden near their home. Raju loved nature and was full of curiosity about the variety of plants in the garden. Uncle stopped near a small little plant, only a few inches high, and said, “Raju, can you uproot this plant?” Raju was able to pull it out, roots and all, quite effortlessly in a few seconds.
They continued walking till uncle stopped at a plant that was about fifteen inches high. Uncle asked, “Raju can you pull out this one?” “Of course,” he replied. With a little effort, Raju uprooted the plant; some of the roots stayed stuck in the soil, but most of it was uprooted.
They walked further until they came to a small bush, about three feet high. Uncle repeated his question, “Raju, can you uproot this one?” Raju tried to pull it up and said, “Uncle, this plant is quite strong and deep rooted, if you help me, perhaps we can pull it out together!” So, together they tugged hard, and with a lot of effort, they were able to pull out the bush.
Together they walked further till they stopped at a full-grown tree; it was about ten feet high. Uncle smiled! Raju laughed and said, “Uncle, we cannot uproot this one, even if both of us try together. It is absolutely impossible to pull out this tree. It’s too strong. Its roots must be deep down in the soil.”
Uncle sat down on the grass and asked Raju to sit down beside him. “My child, a strong tree whose roots have gone deep into the ground can not be uprooted easily. Our personality is also like the soil. Bad habits are like small saplings that grow in it. If we pull out a bad habit from our personality while it is still like a small plant, we can do so easily. If we let it grow a little, we may be able to pull it out, but the roots will remain and may sprout up again.”
Raju listened with bated breath as Uncle continued, “If we let it grow bigger, we may need help from our parents or other well wishers, who would have to forcefully discipline us and help us to get rid of our vices. The threat of the roots staying somewhere in us, would surely be there. But if we let our vices grow big and strong like this tree, we can never uproot them. Maybe at some stage in our life, some one may come along to chop off the branches and the trunk and then attack the roots. But, that eventuality would be very, very painful.”
Uncle smiled and cleared his throat, “Similar is the case of good habits. Every plant starts from a seed; it grows into a sapling and then into a plant and further into a tree. If you allow the plants of good habits to grow in you and uproot those of bad habits as soon as you realize that they are starting to grow, you would be a great boy!”
The choice is yours, would you uproot the bad habit tree and water the good habit tree, or vice versa?