The Purpose of Pruning

When I say “pruning,” I’m not talking about the process in which you make prunes.  I’m talking about Pruning,  “the practice of removing diseased, non-productive, or otherwise unwanted portions from a plant. purpose of pruning is to shape the plant by controlling or directing plant growth, to maintain the health of the plant, or to increase the yield or quality of flowers and fruits.”

As a young teenager, my grandma would often request that I “prune” the vegetation in our backyard.  Don’t you hate it when people talk like that?  All formal and crap?  It makes me feel inferior.  I’m not sure why people write like that.  When I talk to you in person, you don’t use big words like vegetation.  Is it because they want to sound smarter or show off their large vocabulary?  You can easily convey the thoughts you have without using big words or changing the way your word your sentences.  I know there is a difference in writing formally and informally.  I wouldn’t write an email to my boss saying:

” ‘Sup Darren,

I want to go get my grub on at this kick-ass Korean BBQ for lunch.  You down to come?  BTW, it’ll probably take more than an hour, so I’m jus gonna take my time.  But don’t sweat it, I’ll be back before the end of the day.  If you’re not gonna show, I’ll just bring you something back.  We good?


-K Diz”

First off, no one should talk like that…..ever….formal or not….

Secondly, that’s no way to ask your boss out to lunch.  Invite him to something that isn’t so messy, like Italian.

That might be an extreme case of over-exaggeration, but a lot of people write in a way that you wouldn’t see them talking.  I’ve read things that people have written and didn’t even know they knew that many words in the English language.  Maybe those people are just really smart, and I’m behind, so they dull down their “everyday” language for me.  But to me, it seems like when people write or talk about their opinions, they use a different language.  Maybe they do it to sound more professional or just act like they really know what they are talking about.  If you listen to a guy speak on a certain subject and half of the time, you’re trying to figure out what the words mean that he is using, you’ll probably think he’s a really smart guy, even though he could be full of crap.  You’ll just take his opinion as fact because you don’t understand what he’s really talking about.  Again, maybe that’s just me…

But I digest…

Back to pruning.  My grandma used to ask me to prune the trees out in our backyard.  And I used to hate every second of it.  Waking up early on a Saturday morning to cut some branches off of some freaking trees.  My neck would hurt because I had to constantly look up.  My eyes would hurt from looking at the sun for so long and random stuff would keep falling off of the trees landing in my face.  And after I cut the branches from the tree, I had to cut those branches into smaller pieces so we could fit it in the garbage can.  Depending on how many trees I had to do that day, I would say the whole process took somewhere around 1 – 2 1/2 hours.  My hands/neck/shoulders/arms would hurt, I’d have dead ants all over me, covered in dirt and leaves.  The best part was taking a shower and coming back to a sandwich that my grandma had made for me as a payment for pruning the trees and then taking a short nap in an air-conditioned room.

I now realize that pruning really wasn’t that bad.  Looking back on my teenage years, I didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t fun.  I didn’t want to do chores.  I remember one day, someone told me I was being really selfish, and at the time, I didn’t understand.  But now that I look back at it, my priorities were all out of whack.  The world revolved around me.  And when it didn’t, I thought it was unfair.  O those teen years…

I now see that the act of pruning is beneficial in 2 ways.

1) It was a good, physical work out that taught me both patience and perseverance.  A lot of times, I wanted to finish quickly and do a crappy job just so I could be done.  But I know that grandma would have just made me get back out there and finish the job, so I might as well do it right the first time and save a couple headaches.  It also taught responsibility.  As a kid growing up with chores, I always told myself that I wasn’t going to make my kid do any of the stuff I had to do, because I knew how unfair it was.  But those chores and habits that my mom and grandma made me do have transitioned into chores and habits as an adult, being done not forcefully, but willingly.  I hated waking up on Saturday to see a huge list of cleaning chores that I had to do.  1) Vacuum room 2) Clean sink 3) Sweep Patio 4) Dust room.  Now I see how important it is to have chores as a kid.  All parents should give chores to their kids.  It teaches them obedience and patience as well as responsibility – all traits that can transition into adulthood.  Plus, taking that shower and coming out to a sandwich and chips with a tall glass of cold milk was well worth the 2 hours of labor.  The feeling of accomplishment along with the sandwich and a happy grandma made it worth the suckiness.

2) Mentally, it’s a good lesson.  The purpose of pruning is beneficial to the overall life of the tree.  “Many home fruit growers make the mistake of planting a tree, then neglecting it until it begins to bear. But careful attention to pruning and training young trees will ultimately determine their productivity and longevity. Good pruning and training will also prevent later injury from weak crotches that break under snow or fruit load.”  I think this is something you can apply to your life.  “Careful attention to pruning and training young trees will ultimately determine their productivity and longevity.”  This is a great sentence to apply to your life.  Just take out the trees, and put in men and women.  Ok, maybe it’s a little more complex than that.  Let me explain my point of view.

I think God prunes people all the time in order to increase their productivity and longevity.  Or in certain cases, quality of life or faith.  Were you ever confronted with a situation that cut you down, but grew stronger because of the experience?  I think that adversity is God teaching you to be a stronger person. Cut the weaknesses out of your life to become a bigger, stronger tree and bear more fruit.  “Good pruning and training will also prevent later injury from weak crotches that break under snow or fruit load.”  This is even better.  God makes you stronger so you don’t bend and break later in life from a heavy load.  I think it the saying of “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger” is really the message here.  God puts you in situations where you can excel and become a better person.  Don’t shy away from challenges.  Embrace them knowing that there is a reason for them.

Look at your life.  Do you need to do any personal pruning?  Are there things or habits that you need to cut out of your life that will make you a better, stronger person and “increase your productivity” in order to produce more, high-quality fruit?  I know that I personally am trying to do some gardening myself.  I know that God is also pruning me right now.  Cutting me down in order to become a better person.

Prunes are terrible, but pruning is necessary.

Thanks for reading, you shriveled raisins….

– The Vocab Cutter


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