One of my favorite children’s books is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Last night as my son Noah read it aloud to me I cried. In fact, each time we read it I cry. My kids look at me in wonder as they try to understand what it is about this book that makes me so emotional. Well, if you’ve read the book, you understand.
As children, Noah and Paris can’t possibly understand the relevance of the story. While they get that the tree and the little boy in the book are best friends who play together every day, what they can’t possibly grasp at the ages of seven and ten is that page by page the boy is growing up. As a child he loved the tree and simply wanted to play. Yet each year, as he gets older, he no longer wants to play, he wants to take something from the tree for his personal gain. The tree, his best friend happily gives everything it has- its apples to eat, branches to build a house, it’s trunk to build a boat…
What gets me every time is when the boy comes to ask for something more and the tree says, “I am sorry, boy but I have nothing left to give you. I wish that I could give you something…but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry.” Tired and old the boy realizes that’s exactly what he needs, a quiet place to sit and rest. (Check out this link for the original 1973 spoken work rendition by Shel Silverstein)
Whether you are a mother, daughter, sister or wife odds are you too are like the giving tree. You love your family so much you freely give them everything you have- even when it seems you have nothing left to give. Like the tree, odds are it brings you great pleasure to give because this is who you are and these are the people you love most. While it may seem no one notices or appreciates you, they do- just like the boy who ultimately came back to rest and sit with what was left of the tree.
Unconditional love and the willingness to give, care for, and love is what makes women so amazing and why I personally am so fond of them. Yes I am a woman-but throughout my life, women have made an astounding impact on me. Whether my mother, friends, mentors, teachers, sister-in-laws or complete strangers who left an imprint they didn’t even realize they made. This is why I’m so passionate and love mentoring and giving back. I feel compelled to pay it forward. Like the giving tree, I will give all I have until nothing is left. In truth, when giving you receive tenfold of what you put out. So thank you for allowing me to give my words, musings, and thoughts to you today. I hope you will pay it forward and tell me about your favorite books to read with your children.
Written by Traci Bild
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