Tip #883: The Walking Tree

In a tree there is a spirit of life, a spirit of growth, and a spirit of holding its head up.“ Robert Henri

We typically think of trees as being solid and immovable, rooted to one spot. However, the cashapona is an evergreen palm tree in the tropical Central and South American rainforests that “walks.” It can move almost 66 feet in a year.

Rather than developing new branches toward the top of the tree, this palm splits into many 10-foot-tall roots at the bottom of the tree. It slowly ‘walks’ from shade to sunlight by growing new roots toward the light and allowing the old roots that interfere with its movement to die.

A Metaphor for Learning

This walking palm is an excellent metaphor for learning and development.

A cashapona is a living thing and sentient enough to tell the difference between shade and sunlight. Hopefully, so are our learners!

The tree is initially rooted to a spot, just as some learners are resistant, anchored to what is comfortable and known.

Leaving Old Roots Behind

As the cashapona leaves its old roots behind, so our learners are encouraged to let go of their restraining beliefs.

The cashapona moves toward the light to survive and thrive. Our learners engage when they realize what’s in it for them in content that is immediately relevant.

Becoming More Capable and Competent

Once in more fertile soil, this palm tree grows larger and taller. Given a supportive environment, our learners become more capable and competent.

The cashapona is tall and slender, but very hardy and durable. We hope that new learning will be just as durable.

To continue to thrive, the cashapona requires frequent sunlight and rain. To keep new learning fresh in their minds, our learners require frequent practice and reinforcement.

Achieving and Flourishing

The cashapona’s motivation is to reach and flourish in the sunlight. Our learners are motivated to achieve and prosper with their new knowledge and skills.

Both the palm tree and our learners will ultimately thrive if given the right environment, resources, and opportunities.

Our Responsibility as Learning Facilitators

We are responsible for tending and cultivating our learners’ capabilities with a supportive learning environment, relevant content, realistic learning experiences, ample practice, and frequent reinforcement.

If your garden needs tending and your learning facilitators need skills, contact Deb Laurel at Laurel and Associates, Ltd.

Question: Does your learning development need tending?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#learningdevelopment #curriculumdesign

Related Posts

Training Mastery

Are you a new trainer? Feeling overwhelmed? Wondering how to start or what to do?

Would you like to get just-in-time answers to your pressing questions? How about a second pair of eyes and ears to give you useful feedback and validation?

If you need help, come to my weekly Zoom roundtable on the third Thursday of the month, from 11 AM to 11:30 AM CST, beginning on September 21, 2023.

View the full course schedule.


Two new virtual business workshops for Spring 2023

Presentation Skills: Learn to be informative and persuasive.
8:30-4:00 pm,  4/26/2023

Register here

Six Steps to Yes: Acquire instant influence in a virtual world.
8:30 – 12:30pm, 3/28/2023

Register here


It doesn’t have to be difficult to Deal with Difficult People.

In this course you will define the behavioral characteristics and underlying needs of difficult people, assess situations in which you effectively handled a difficult person, review five steps for handling difficult people Laurel & Associates now offers courses through Teachable. Learn at your own pace.

Share This Post