A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

What Kind Of Tree?

February 5th, 2013

Ever ask someone what you think is a really good question?

And when you get the answer it’s so obvious you’re embarrassed?

Last October we moved into a 50 year-old fixer upper house on a lake here in Texas. There are lots of critters here. Raccoons, possum, armadillos, wild turkeys, deer, ducks, rattlesnakes, a couple blue herons, foxes and, in the winter season, Canadian geese. There are at least a couple bobcats around and rumors of a mountain lion somewhere in the canyon.

As is fairly typical around lakes, there are plenty of trees here. One day about a month back Brooke and I wondered out loud. “With all these trees, why haven’t we seen a single squirrel?” This should be squirrel heaven. But they’re nowhere to be found.

That’s when I decided to ask my really good question.

I texted resident tree surgeon Kelly Hildebrandt. “With all these trees, why are there no squirrels around?”

The beauty of asking a question via text message is you can’t see the person shaking their head in disbelief or laughing hysterically as they type back a kind, yet oh so obvious answer.

“Because there’s nothing for them to eat.”

Duh! Doh! Ugh!

Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?

Kelly reminded me that although there are many trees at the lake, there are no pecan trees or oak trees here. Hence, no nuts for the squirrels. Siberian Elms and Hackberry trees are pretty, but a squirrel will starve living in one of them. So even though Mr. Squirrel may prefer country living to city life, he will gladly live in town to be close to an abundant supply of acorns and pecans.

For decades job interviewers have made it a practice to occasionally ask the odd question, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” The purpose in the asking is to see how a potential employee handles the unexpected. How well do they think on their feet, or their seat as it were? It’s a goofy question to be sure, but there are blog pages that actually coach people on how to respond should the question be put to them.

It is a goofy question. We’re people. Not trees. Though we’re all a little nuts sometimes, we’ll never be trees.

But in case you’re ever asked the question, I have the answer for you.

Be the kind of tree that feeds people.

Be the kind that offers good words and compliments.

Be the kind that listens without looking at your watch.

Be the kind that encourages others to persevere.

Be the kind that forgives so others can experience freedom.

Be the kind that laughs at yourself so others can relax in their quirkiness.

Be the kind that gently offers the wisdom of your experience.

Be the kind that always points others to God.

Be the kind…that is kind.

Be the kind of tree that feeds people and your life will be wonderfully full.

Because people, like squirrels, go where they are fed.

“Anxiety in a person’s heart weighs him down, but an encouraging word brings him joy.” – Proverbs 12:25


Todd A. Thompson – ASliceOfLifeToGo.com