We all wear different hats. Two key hats we all tend to wear are work and family. Sometimes we’re in work mode, where we have to be the lead and deliver on time. Other times, we may be in family mode, where we need to be that person the family needs us to be. You could be the breadwinner, the one who is the rock of the family, or the one who plays a specific role in the family. The challenge comes when you have to transition from work to family mode, leaving all your work troubles behind so you can enjoy your family time.
I came across this great little story that can help keep them separated. See if you can learn something from the Trouble Tree…
The Trouble Tree Story
The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.
While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. Upon opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tan face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier. “Oh, that’s my trouble tree”, he replied. ” I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
It’s difficult to go from one mode of thinking to another and it’s even more difficult to let go of troubles just because the clock says it’s quitting time. When we can’t leave work at work, we tend to bring it home. It distracts us from our family, can make us less patient, and can ruin relationships. The Carpenter in the story found a great way to divide the two. It’s sort of like when your mind is full and you just write all your troubles down on a piece of paper. It’s helps you to let them go, at least for a bit, until you can get back to them later. And often times, when you get back to them, they’re not as bad as you thought they were or there aren’t nearly as many.
Consider getting a Trouble Tree to give you a spot to leave your frustrations and problems so they don’t have the power to ruin your relationships and steal your happiness. Your Trouble Tree could be a literal tree or plant, or it could be simply writing down your concerns before you end the work day. Whatever you decide, put something in place and give it a shot for a couple weeks. See if it can’t give you some peace of mind and happier relationships.