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The Giving Tree

A good friend of mine who was recently visiting told me this unbelievable story about her crazy neighbor. He slipped into her yard in the middle of the night, when no one was home and cut down a tree on her property. He had been complaining about the tree, saying the leaves blew over onto his property. Although this may be true, my friend loved her Norwegian Spruce and didn’t want to cut it down.

For some reason her story made me think of a favorite book I used to read to my children when they were little. I quickly began rummaging through old books until I found it…

The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

Before I went to bed that night I decided to ‘pin’ The Giving Tree to my ‘I love a good story’ board on Pinterest. I love Pinterest, its like shopping without spending any money. If I had more time, I’d spend the whole day pinning beautiful and interesting pictures to my collection of boards. (FYI… there is a Pinterest button on my blog, right above my Versatile Blogger Award) I have nine boards and about 87 pins and a few of my pictures have been repined. Wait a minute, I’m getting off the subject here…

As I sat at my computer the following morning waiting for my tea to steep, I checked my e-mail and noticed my inbox was overflowing with notices from Pinterest. It seemed throughout the night seventy people had repined The Giving Tree from my board and ten people liked it! This had to be some kind of record?

Even if it wasn’t a record, it still shows that everyone likes this story and why not? Its a great story. When my children were small I loved reading them stories with a moral, that way we could discuss it afterwards and hopefully they’d learn something. But what is the moral to this story?

The story is about a boy and his relationship to a tree. The tree always provides the boy with the things he needs. Branches to swing on, shade in which to sit and apples to eat. As the boy grows, so do his needs and the tree continues to provide. Until one day when there is nothing left of the tree but a stump.

Many years later the boy returns an old man and the tree sadly says, “I’m sorry boy, but I have nothing left to give.”

The boy replies, “I am old and do not need much, just a quiet place to sit and rest.”

The tree invites the boy to sit on its stump, the boy obliges and the tree is very happy.

So what is the message in this story?

  • Its better to give than to receive?
  • As humans we take from nature until there is nothing left?
  • That childhood is a happy time compared to the sacrifices and responsibilities of adulthood?
  • Is the relationship between the tree and the boy similar to a relationship between a parent and child?

This book will definitely give both you and your children something to think about. (Pin it!)