Thuja plicata, the western redcedar. And no, that’s not a typo; it is truly one word, meant to inform the reader that this tree really isn’t a member of the cedar family. It is an arborvitae.
Much like our pre-teenagers, this tree presents to the world a different face. Mighty and strong, we nurture these small seedlings to grow into the giants we know they can be. Fragile and soft inside, these trees were known as life givers to the Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest. And unlike the ubiquitous douglas fir, the red cedar does not grow in swaths of huge forests, but spotted here and there, unique among the other trees growing.
The juxtaposition of the tree’s attributes matches the developmental time of our kids; exploring who they are, what the world around them offers, and how they fit in against wanting to keep them innocent and childlike. We have been given the gift of guiding them, showing them what is out there. And like the red cedar, we aspire to make sure these kids can grow wherever they are planted.