The Chinese Bamboo Story — A Lesson in Patience

Posted by Rizal Karim on March 31, 2011

A great lesson of patience, persistence and hard work can be learned from the story of planting Chinese bamboo. Unlike most other plants, Chinese bamboo is quite unique on its own. When this bamboo is planted, watered, and nurtured for the whole growing season, it does not outwardly develop even just for an inch. Then, on the next growing season, the farmer must continue to irrigate, fertilize and care for the bamboo tree and yet nothing happens – it fails to sprout just the same.

And as the seasons go in and out, the farmer has to continue caring for the bamboo for four consecutive years. What could really be discouraging is the farmer has nothing substantial to demonstrate for all of his labor in caring and growing the tree. Four lonely years of hard work and caring and yet you have nothing!

And then on the fifth year, you must be prepared for something so amazing and incredible!

All the hard work seems to be paid off on the fifth year because that Chinese bamboo tree seed at last grows and not just growing as we normally see with other plants. The bamboo tree shoots up to more than 80 feet all in just one growing season! Now, that is a very astonishing demonstration of the power of nature!

Now, you might be thinking: Did the small tree loll inactive for four years and then just decides to grow dramatically on the fifth? I think the answer is quite clear for us to see. The little tree was actually developing itself underground by expanding its root system to make it tough enough to sustain its impending external growth in the fifth year and even beyond.

Now, had the tree failed to build up a strong and able underground foundation, it would be impossible for it to keep on growing when it is time to sprout outside into the outside world.

This story is very much true in rearing our beautiful children. As parents, we have to patiently exert efforts in teaching and disciplining our children for them to develop right values and to adopt strong character while at the same time defeat many difficulties and different challenges.

If that Chinese bamboo farmer dug up his little bamboo seeds each year just because he is curious or wants to make sure it was growing or what, he could effectively stopped the tree’s growth. There are times when we demand our little children to sit still and behave and be patient but big lessons can be deeply taught once they are demonstrated in actions and not just in words.

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, toiled ever upward through the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  • http://gfbertini.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/the-chinese-bamboo-story-a-lesson-in-patience/ The Chinese Bamboo Story – A Lesson in Patience « Learning Change

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  • http://suifaijohnmak.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/change11-slow-learning-through-story-telling/ #Change11 Slow Learning through story telling | Learner Weblog

    [...] The Chinese Bamboo Story [...]

  • Service From Heart

    Thank you for sharing your treasured story, it has inspired me to write a post about patience http://servicefromheart.blogspot.com/2014/01/3-mini-stories-to-help-us-to-be-more.html

  • raton pramanik

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  • Shiraz

    Can someone tell me where can i access this video? I can not play it here

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