The Value of Roots

Each year, thousands of people search for their roots through online sites or by other means. Some are looking for birth families; others are curious to know more about the lives and locations of past generations.

Roots are important in nature and in our lives. Although we might survive, without a healthy root system, we miss out on elements of support, nourishment, and connection that keep our lives anchored.

Following are some thoughts on the value of roots:


Several weeks ago, my three-year-old grandson pointed out brown leaves on one of the branches of a tree beside our deck. At first, I thought the leaves were just turning early, but on closer inspection, I saw the tree was dying. Within a few days, the entire tree was dead.

Last year, a tree beside this one uprooted during a tornado. Although the remaining tree appeared unscathed, apparently, its root system was damaged, leading to its demise. Without a good root system, plants lack what they need to survive and thrive.

It is the same with us. When we don’t have a sturdy root system, we lack the grounding we need when life challenges come. Family and friends provide support in times of trauma, health events, grief, and heartache. Remember, there are those who are ready and willing to aid, but beyond that, God is our ever-present source of help, hope, and encouragement.


Have you ever noticed a flower or tree growing out of an expansion joint in the sidewalk or between bricks in a walkway? The plant may grow for a while, but eventually, the surrounding hardscape prevents nourishment from reaching it and the plant dies.

Nothing survives for long without nourishment. Nourishment includes more than food and water. Feeding yourself emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically are all necessary for health and well-being.


Last weekend, we attended a celebration of life service for a family member. My husband mentioned the joy his uncle found in researching his ancestry and the connections he made in doing so.

I am very thankful for my heritage, people of core values and strong faith. Knowing family history, my roots, gives me a sense of belonging and connection. It encourages me to know past generations endured hardships and challenges like the ones we encounter, yet survived, thrived, and maintained forward motion. I am interested in their life and faith journeys and feel a strong bond to them through photographs and other memorabilia.

Connection to others is as important to humans as a healthy root system is to a plant. Isolation and withdrawal from others change a person’s perspective, and often, that perspective shift is negative. Interaction brings renewed insights, encouragement, and joy.


In front of our house is a camellia bush our children, years ago, named “the lie down bush” because it has grown sideways. Perhaps this sideways growth occurred because it was planted too close to the house and the root system didn’t develop properly. Or maybe it just leaned toward the light. Whatever the cause, the bush is somewhat unstable because it is not well-anchored.

Do you have an anchor in your life that holds firm even when life challenges threaten to overwhelm? Do you have strong family and faith roots?

If you don’t have information about your heritage, or your family is one you’d rather forget, you can grow a new root system in the family of God. We are all adoptees in that family, equal heirs, with all the benefits and support to firmly anchor our lives.

“But I will bless those who trust me. They will be like trees growing beside a stream—trees with roots that reach down to the water, and with leaves that are always green. They bear fruit every year and are never worried by lack of rain” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 CEV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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