Lessons from the Squirrels

My current role model.

My current role model.

Tenacity and inventiveness. Two qualities that I’d like to have more of and my current role models are squirrels.

Yes, I have a growing fondness for these furry critters. They gave me a new acrobatic show this morning in the wide arc of fir trees surrounding the front of our home. The trees have steadily grown taller and fuller to create a pleasant green cape. Year round they display my favorite color with fluffy lushness and I enjoy looking up at them after morning devotions in our home office.

It was deep inside the trees that I saw the squirrel.  You’d never have seen him if you weren’t studying the trees.  About 25 feet off the ground, two-thirds of the way up the evergreens, this little fella was springing from bough to bough. His estimates were perfect as he remained parallel to the ground. It’s just that he was 25 feet up. It looked incredibly fun and effortless.

Wouldn’t it have been easier to travel on the ground, I thought? He was certainly taking some risks up there — who would have known if each bough had the same springiness as the one he just left? Couldn’t he get to where he was going faster on earth?

I remembered an anecdote in a book I’m reading, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader by Mark Sanborn. A homeowner who loved feeding wild birds was exasperated trying to locate a squirrel-proof birdfeeder. After purchasing one so advertised, and finding that it only took part of a day for the squirrel to find a way to the food, he was reminded that a squirrel spends 98 percent of his waking hours finding food. He had only spent about 15-20 minutes trying to defeat the squirrels.

This juxtaposition of morning devotions and squirrel reveries wasn’t lost on me. What could I (or anyone) do if I didn’t have any fear of trying to travel to a goal in a new way? What if I knew that there was air, bounce, physics, faith, confidence, and courage holding me up on a novel path? Just what could I accomplish with spending 98 percent of my waking hours focusing on a goal, or honoring God, or giving thanks for the many blessings He gives me?

The day before Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things. And this morning I’m adding lessons learned from squirrels to the list.


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