Sunday, August 30, 2009


Some of you have seen the movie, "Roots". Did you wonder where the name came from? It seems clear, as we use the term "roots" to describe earlier generations of our families. I wonder if the use of that term is due to the concept of a family tree. The roots of the tree show where we came from. The branches and twigs show the generations that are following. The generation of the one filling out the tree, fits into the trunk.

The roots are set, they are firm and immovable. You cannot alter your roots. Good or bad roots, they are what they are. Your roots have a lot to do with who you are but are not the final determination of what you are. The roots and trunk have a lot to do with who the next generations are and will be, but they do not decide what the next generations will be.

Having good and strong roots probably gives a young trunk a better start. How that trunk grows and develops is not totally dependant upon the roots. There are other influences that have an effect on the maturing of the tree. When the young tree is nourished and properly cared for, it has an advantage over the sapling which tried to grow strong without any help (hence, the phrase - "you poor sap!"). As we grow, the roots and outside influences can have a lot to do with what the young adult becomes. As stated, they do not have final determination, but they do fulfil a part.

The person, even with good roots and proper nourishing, still has the ability to make decisions that can and will affect the rest of their life. These decisions can be for better or worse and some can be irreversible. Some good decisions change your destiny, just as some bad choices become obstacles that are hard to overcome. These choices then affect the quality of trunk you grow into. As for following generations, these choices affect the quality of root you were for giving the next trunk a good start.

"No man is an island" is a famous quote. This concept is true in our lives. None of us live in a bubble where what we do and what we choose only affects us. Our choices reflect back on the root and affect the branches and twigs - for good or bad.

It has amazed me, over the years, as I have made and observed others making decisions that change the course of history for them and those that follow, without giving much thought to the issue. Many of these decisions have to be made and what the differences are that result, cannot be known or predicted at the time the choice is made. When you later look back, you realize how your life is completely different based on that one decision.

The point is this, whether you look back and see that you did nor did not have the greatest of roots, you are still responsible for the direction of your life. You cannot blame your roots or your trunk for what you are. Those who came before us may have made things better or worse, easier or harder for us; but, ultimately, we each must take responsibility for our own lives.

This does not mean that if you find yourself in a difficult situation that you must just accept it and learn to live with it. It means, take responsibility for improving your life. Make decisions that will help alter your future in a more positive direction. At the same time, be so careful about those bad choices - the ones that seem so minor at the time but have the ability to grow into life altering events - the kind we regret later but find ourselves unable to overcome the consequences.

If you are presently a twig, you will become a branch. If you are a branch, you are becoming a trunk. If you are a trunk, you are establishing the quality of root that will exist forever. Do what you can to be a good trunk and establish a good root. You will not be able to set the course for the branches and twigs, but you can give them a good start.

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