Partners In Learning held its annual Thanksgiving luncheon last week. We had over 100 families to come out to celebrate the gift of their child, thanksgiving and friendships. The book "The Giving Tree", a children's book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein was used as a springboard to teach the children about giving throughout the week.
The Giving Tree is a tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree. The tree always provides the boy with what he wants: branches on which to swing, shade in which to sit and apples to eat. As the boy grows older, he requires more and more of the tree. The tree loves the boy very much and gives him anything he asks for. In an ultimate act of self-sacrifice, the tree lets the boy cut it down so the boy can build a boat in which he can sail. The boy leaves the tree, now a stump. Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns, and the tree sadly says: "I'm sorry, boy... but I have nothing left to give you." But the boy replies: "I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest." The tree then says, "Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down and rest." The boy obliges and the tree is very happy.
The tree gives everything to the boy freely because it loves him, and its feelings are reciprocated by the boy when he returns to the tree for a rest. In this way, the relationship between the tree and the boy as he grows up could be viewed as similar to that between a parent and child; despite getting nothing in return for a long time, the tree puts the boy's needs foremost, because it wants him to be happy. Indeed, the only time the tree ever seems to be sad is when it feels that it has nothing left to give the boy and that the boy might never return.
The concept of giving is revealed as the tree continues to give to the boy throughout their journey of life. In spite of receiving nothing in return, the simple act of giving to the one that he loves, makes the tree happy.
Blessings, Norma W. Honeycutt