A Tale of Two Trees

A Tale of Two Trees
Photo by Ingmar / Unsplash

This is a tale of two trees.

My first job out of college was at a medical billing company.

One of my early mentors there was a woman named Jerri.

I was a young, arrogant, inflexible kid fresh out of college.

Jerri was a quinquagenarian full of life experience and witty one-liners.

When I was struggling with adversity, Jerri said something that stuck with me until this day:

"Jeff, be a willow, not an oak."


As the parable goes, on a farmer's field lived two trees.

A willow on one end, an oak on the other.

Every morning the willow would wake up in envy of the mighty oak's strength and power.

One night a terrible storm with whipping winds and torrential rain tore through the field.

At daybreak, the willow woke up to find the oak had fallen to the ground.

Confused, the willow asked the farmer what happened to the oak.

The farmer explained: even though the oak was strong and mighty, it was also rigid and inflexible.

The winds of the storm were too much for the oak to resist, and it collapsed under the pressure.

Because the willow was adaptable and flexible it was able to bend with the wind and weather the storm.


We all experience storms in our lives.

When faced with resistance think of the willow.

The willow's strength lies in its ability to take the storm as it comes.

It will bend, not break.

"Be a willow, not an oak."

Thank you, Jerri.

🌳 Jeff