The Giving Tree Lessons

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I checked out The Giving Tree from the library for my daughter. I love Shel Silverstein and wanted to share this wonderful classic. The meaning behind The Giving Tree is controversial, but I prefer to think of it in the most optimistic way possible. The tree gives all it has willingly and unconditionally and is always happy after it has given to the boy.

Lessons of Generosity

The lesson of the book differs greatly from the widely accepted idea that only those with “enough” can give. This idea excuses most from helping others that are less fortunate because they feel that they do not have enough to give. Most people are not rich, but can spare a little for those that are less fortunate, even if it is only one can of food during the holidays or a few dollar store stocking-stuffers. We discussed this after reading the book and my daughter immediately wanted to donate toys.

“And the Tree Was Happy”

Another major theme of the book is the joy that giving gives the receiver. This unexpected gift is precious and not to be underestimated. Medical research has shown that giving actually has a positive effect on the body and emotional health, so I want my daughter to understand the joy of giving as early as possible.

Understanding Parable

The tree does give all that it has, which is obviously not actually healthy in a real relationship. We discussed the difference between what the tree has to give to a friendship and what a human being has to give to a friendship, because there are healthy limitations that should be recognized. Giving in order to gain friendship can also be unhealthy, whereas giving from a place of friendship and helpfulness is healthy. The holidays are the perfect time to break out The Giving Tree.

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