Life Lessons from Squirrelly the Squirrel
Difficulties are defining events in character buildup
When squirrels climb up and down trees or traipse from branch to branch, their movements always appear to have a purpose, not just plain listlessness. Even when they sit and frantically look around, there is a kind of attentiveness to their demeanor.
These bright-eyed animals with bushy tails may be considered wild, but their characteristics reveal some similarities to humans. In fact, humans can also learn from them to bring out the best in themselves, especially when life throws obstacles along the way.
In the book Squirrelly the Squirrel and Starlett by Larry Friend, Squirrelly is the main character. He has been lovingly named such by his father and mother because he was full of energy and fearless in the way he moved about. He is loved as a son, brother, friend, and mate.
From a kit to an adult, Squirrelly went through different and difficult experiences that taught him life lessons.
Here are some of them:
- Saving for a rainy day. This phrase may be an old adage for humans, but Squirrelly worked hard to ensure survival during the cold winter months since it is very difficult to find food during this harsh time. During the fall, Squirrelly gathered acorns, seeds, and nuts and stocked these to sustain him and his family during the long, cold winter spell.
Squirrels bury their food to store them and retrieve them when food is scarce in the cold months.
Squirrelly has developed the Nut Positioning System to locate where he hid the nuts in his surroundings or under a foot of snow.
Before burying the nut, a squirrel breaks the nutshell using his teeth. To establish ownership, the animal licks it or rubs it on his face to establish his scent, which will lead him to it later.
- Never giving up when faced with challenges. A keen observer of things around him and driven by the need to feed his parents and siblings, Squirrelly learned to skillfully outmaneuver different kinds of bird feeders no matter how difficult. Thus, he was able to access any feeder and bring down birdseeds.
Gathering food from trees can be tricky, too, because not all branches can support his weight. Learning how to navigate and jump from branch to branch wasn’t easy. He had to fall hard several times at the expense of being ridiculed. Maintaining a positive attitude, he never gave up until he deftly learned the techniques.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Danger lurks everywhere. Squirrelly always remembered his father’s advice about how to protect themselves, seek cover, observe other animals’ behavior, and set up a warning system like secret squeaking. Hawks, falcons, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and sometimes owls were predators who threatened their well-being. His brother, Sluggo, who ignored safety precautions, fell prey to a hawk. This was perhaps the hardest life lesson for Squirrelly and his family.
- Adaptablity. Squirrelly loved being with his parents and siblings in the nest and all that the surroundings had to offer. But as they grew and occupied more space, frustrations also set in. Thus, Squirrelly and his dad had to build a bigger and more comfortable nest elsewhere. They acclimated to the new surroundings and adapted well.
- The value of family and relationships. Squirrelly was fortunate to have a happy and loving family and eventually had a big family of his own. Among the things they did together were building a nest, even a larger nest, for the family, looking out for each other when danger threatens, helping his sister, Nutella, build a new nest for her family and facing challenges together, like the big storm.
Also, Starlett was a perfect match for Squirrelly; she listened to his hopes and dreams and supported him in all these endeavors.
In life, there are many ups and downs. How a person reacts, especially to tragedies and difficulties, the strength of one’s support system will provide significant life lessons that will define character.
Ponder on these life lessons when you read Squirrelly the Squirrel and Starlett. Get a copy of the book on www.larryfriendbooks.com or check out your favorite online bookstores. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads for more inspiring reads.
Friend, Larry. Squirrelly the Squirrel and Starlett. Atlanta, Georgia: LitFire Publishing, 2017.
FFlourishAnyway. “What Squirrels Can Teach Us about Being Human.” Last modified March 17, 2018. Accessed Jan 16, 2019. https://owlcation.com/misc/How-To-Live-Your-Best-Life-Lessons-Learned-From-Squirrels
FSmithstein, Samantha, PsyD. “Learning about Survival from Squirrels.” July 11, 2010. Accessed January 15, 2019. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-the-wild-things-are/201007/learning-about-survival-the-squirrel