Breath by J. Daniel Beaudry

Before my daughter married, she gave me a gift I could never replace. She gave me a poem about the people in our lives. Today, I want to share her wisdom with you.

First, I want you to think of a tree. The kind of tree does not matter, as long as you have a clear picture of it in your mind.

Your tree represents the people in your life. Look at all of the leaves on your tree. The leaves are people in your life who are only around for a season. They could be neighbors who move in and out of your neighborhood quickly, people you date briefly, or friends who are only around for a short while. Leaves are in abundance on any tree, but each year leaves fall off and new ones replace them.

Next, pay attention to the branches of your tree. Note that your tree has fewer branches than leaves, but the branches are stronger and more durable. The people in your life who stay around for a while, they are your branches. These might be your friends from school or an ex you were with for a few years. You can prune a branch from a tree or lose one naturally, and while the tree may never look quite the same, it can still grow.

Finally, we have the roots of the tree, what really makes your tree strong. Roots keep your tree straight, stable and healthy to make sure it is growing properly. The roots provide your tree nourishment during the cold winter months—when your tree needs it the most. The leaves and branches may come and go, but your tree needs strong roots to survive.

Think of the roots as the permanent people in your life. People like your kids, your parents, and your best friend. These roots in your life only want what is best for you; they want you to succeed and grow stronger. Without them, you would wither away.

I want you to take serious stock of your tree. How strong is it? Who are you paying the most attention to—the leaves, the branches, or the roots? How can you help your tree grow taller?

Ages from now, when it is time to count up the rings in the trunk, what story will your tree tell? The answer is up to you.


“Mom, you have always been the great Oak in my life. I love you!” – Lauren Ashley

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