Nov 11
Debra Korte, Teaching Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education

I’ve heard people say how much they enjoy the beautiful colors displayed in the Fall leaves. I enjoy looking at the leaves, but when I see trees, I see characteristics which have many similarities to our own lives.


In my opinion, the branches of a tree reflect its root system. The intricately woven web of branches we see are an outward display of what’s hidden underneath – the root system – of the tree.

We are similar. The version of ourselves we bring to work or class each day is a reflection of our “roots” – our beliefs about the value of people, society, and the well-being of others. Although we cannot see the inward root system of others, we can see the proof of their internal beliefs through their actions, conversations, and demonstrated behaviors.

Tree Trunk

I believe the trunk of a tree also tells a story. The trunk changes over time, yet it remains unchanged as the heart of the tree. The trunk is ever-present throughout the growth process, and displays the nicks and scars of a weathered life.

Our trunk – our heart – holds our core values. The things we believe to be true in ourselves and others. As the trunk supports the tree, our core values support our decisions, our motivation, and our beliefs about the potential of others as well as ourselves. Our core holds the essential lifeblood for us to be the best version of ourselves every day. Our core values help us to not only believe in ourselves, but also believe in those we care the most about.

When we look at trees from a different perspective, we see them in a unique and different way. The same holds true for the way we view others and our life circumstances. Stand firm to your core values, hold your ground with your root system, but challenge yourself to look at people or situations from a unique perspective – a positive light – to seek out the best version of ourselves and others.