By Ilex Bien-Aime
The Oak tree symbolizes strength and endurance. It has deep roots that anchor the massive tree into the ground. Many countries use the Oak as their national symbol because of the aforementioned attributes. The Palm tree on the other hand symbolizes victory and peace. If you compare the Oak tree and the Palm tree by purely looks alone, the Oak seems to be more impressive however that is where we make our mistake.
Men have been taught to be Oak trees. For the most part we are bigger and stronger than women and we typically do not allow our emotions to control our actions. Men have been taught a certain way of thinking that anchors us into the ground and sets roots deep within our souls. As little boys we are taught to be soldiers and even some mothers try to stop their sons from crying at a very early age. Little girls on the other hand are comforted and made to feel secure about their feelings.
Men are taught to lead and in order to lead we must exemplify a certain amount of strength. We have been taught that no woman wants a weak man and so we come into relationships with an iron fist. In so many cases a man is told to lead his home, he just is not taught how to lead his home. This is a very important factor when it comes to understanding your husbands. Many of us do not understand that being a husband requires a fair balance of being strong but not totalitarian.
In a healthy marriage, a man has to learn to be a Palm tree. Because Palm trees do not look as strong as Oak trees, we as men tend to ignore their attributes. What we don’t understand is that the Palm tree has more strength than we give it credit for having. When I was about 14 years old, I went through Hurricane Andrew in Ft. Lauderdale. After the storm had past we drove around to see the damage caused and much to our surprise the Oak trees were toppled over. Some of these trees landed on people’s houses totally destroying them and killing some families along the way. On the other hand, the smaller more delicate looking Palm trees were still standing as if nothing happened.
I was shocked to see all of these Palms still standing and I asked my grandmother why the Oaks fell but the Palms didn’t. She then explained to me that the Palm bends in the wind and sways back and forth. This keeps them from breaking and toppling over but the Oak tree has no bend and when a strong wind comes, it breaks. Even though i had this conversation 20 years ago, I didn’t know the importance of that lesson until recently.
I have been an Oak in many ways and not to make excuses but I was taught to be an Oak. Marriage has shown me that I need to be a Palm because without being able to bend, you will surely break. I have to learn to be softer and less rigid in my ideology. I have to learn to go with the flow a little more often. Clearly it will not be easy because I have been pre-conditioned to be an Oak, yet Oaks break and topple over and I don’t want that to happen to me and my family. Which one are you going to be?
Ilex Bien-Aime is an integral part of the BlackLoveAndMarriage.com team. He lives in Washington, DC with his lovely wife. He writes as a man who has seen women mistreat themselves and who have allowed themselves to be mistreated. He writes as a man who wants to give his future daughters a guideline on how to deal with men. Lastly he writes what he writes because his female friends are always asking his opinion about these situations. Connect with Ilex at Iamsayingit.blogspot.com or via email at [email protected]