The Indoor and Outdoor Tree


An eight-year-old boy went to his grandfather and proudly announced, “I am going to be very successful when I grow up. Can you give me any tips on how to get there?

The grandfather nodded, and without saying a word, took the boy by the hand and walked him to a nearby plant nursery.

There, the two of them chose and purchased two small saplings.They returned home and planted one of them in the back yard. The other sapling was placed in a pot and kept indoors.

Which one do you think will be the most successful in the future?” asked the grandfather.

The boy thought for a moment and said, “The indoor tree. It’s protected and safe while the outdoor one has to cope with the elements.”

The grandfather shrugged his shoulders and said, “We’ll see.”

The grandfather carefully tended to both plants and in a few years, the boy, now a teenager came to visit again.

You never really answered my question from when I was a young boy. How can I become successful when I grow up?” he asked. The old man showed the teenager the indoor tree and then took him outside to have a look at the towering tree outside. “Which one is greater?” the grandfather asked.

The outside one, but that doesn’t make sense, it has to cope with many more challenges than the inside one.”

The grandfather smiled, “Yes but the risk of dealing with challenges is worth it as it has the freedom to spread its roots wider and grow its canopy towards the sky. If you choose the safe option all of your life you will never grow and be all that you can be, but if you are willing to face the world head-on with all of its challenges, the sky is the limit!”


As an educator, keep striving to be the outdoor tree and challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone. Allow yourself to grow so that you can better provide for the young children under your care!

Professional Development Programme (Teachers)- PDP (T)

PDP (T) logo 

This story was shared at the Professional Development Programme for Teachers PDP (T) Appointment Ceremony 2018 held on 16 March 2018. This was ECDA's 3rd PDP (T) appointment ceremony and we are proud to have 450 over early childhood educators on board the programme. 

Click here to view photos from the PDP(T) Appointment Ceremony!


The PDP supports the development of early childhood educators with the potential to take on larger job roles in their organisations. Find out more about PDP here!