A small oak seedling was growing in the forest. It looked around and saw that some seedlings turned into great oak trees while others became no more than little shrubs. The trees were strong and beautiful. The shrubs were weak and ugly.
One day the forest ranger was passing through.
'Excuse me, Mr. Ranger, will you help me grow into a great tree?' the seedling asked.
'Do you really want that?' the ranger asked. 'It will be a very painful process, one that will require great patience and incredible discipline. It is much easier to just be a shrub.”
'No,' the seedling replied, 'I really want to be a great oak tree. I don't care what it costs in time and patience. I don't care how difficult it is. To be an oak tree is my only desire.'
Every day when the ranger came the seedling's way, he poked at the soil, forced the seedling to stand straight and even pulled off some of his leaves and branches. Some times when other seedlings were close by, the ranger uprooted them and left the seedling all alone.
One day the seedling complained, 'Why do you treat me so harshly? Why don't you let me do what I want to do? Why must you prune my branches, poke my soil, restrict my friends? Why can't you just let me be?'
The ranger replied, 'There is only one way to be an oak tree. Because I want to help you, I must cause you some pain. That is the way of growth. Without pain you will be nothing more than a shrub, never a full grown tree.'