Forests and ships: Planning for the future with flexibility

By Teresa Jordan

Forests and ships: Planning for the future with flexibility

Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully (1560-1641) was first minister and right-hand man of Henry IV of France.

He was also passionate about trees and was responsible for halting and outlawing the devastation of the forests of France that had preceded his appointment. In 1599 he planned a forest that would, in 200 years, provide France with all the excellent ship masts it would need for an excellent fleet. 

Forests and ships: Planning for the future with flexibilityCarefully he planned the forest, spaced the strongest trees far enough apart to thrive, but planted soft wood trees like beech in between so the hard woods would grow straight and tall with few knot holes.

This was some excellent planning, but as you have probably already guessed, what he did not plan for was the steam ship and the elimination for the need for tall masts.

While his intention was for ship building in the long future, he did make great positive change in France and turned around deforestation, some of his planted trees still stand.

In planning today, there is so much change in technology it was recently decided that Community Living Trent Highlands would only do a strategic plan that spanned a maximum of two years. The pace of change is great, and no one has time for a tree to grow to ensure a certain outcome.

At CLTH we move at that rate of change and with the pace of a “busy” society, but many of the people and families that we work will are looking for a lifetime goal, a long range outlook and steps to build a better life that takes years, not minutes.

It is imperative that all staff work at the pace of the people and factor in the great sweeping changes that could happen to our “fleet” of supports only as a cautionary footnote that keeps changes on the radar of all involved as the person moves and grows through the years.

We work to take the time needed to not just check in with interests and current activities, but to make sure that people have experiences and knowledge that informs their choices in the broadest possible way.

Our work takes us to many exciting places of discovery with families and an awakened awareness of all that makes them strong.

The Duke of Sully, was clearly a planner, but more than that he had a dream of better ships and he knew what steps to take to make a future that was better and that he knew would be well beyond his lifetime.

Many families are planning in the same space, trying to make decisions that will span far into the future, while building some contingency plans to avoid collision with the steam ships of the unknown.

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