This past weekend was a whirlwind. Not only was my husband able to make a quick trip home, which made the kids very happy, he was quickly summoned back to work to take care of an issue that occurred, which made the kids very unhappy. As I thought of the 101 ways to ease their sorrow, the only thing I found left for me to do was just be there for them, and continue our day as we would any other.
It wasn’t until the evening that I saw the book, “The Giving Tree”, in my daughter’s bookshelf. I first read it to myself, and then read it to my kids. I quickly found that this book can be interpreted in so many different ways. Doing a search on the interwebs I found that this book has created much debate and controversy! Even hatred!
If you have not read “The Giving Tree,” by Shel Silverstein, it begins with “Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy.” The book continues as that little boy takes and takes and takes from the tree — selling her apples when he needs money, chopping off her branches when he needs shelter, cutting down her trunk when he needs a boat to sail far away. In the end, the boy is an old man, and he comes back to the tree and sits on her. Which, we are told, makes her happy.
As I read this book I immediately think of the relationship between mother and child. To me it said that moms are willing to sacrifice almost everything for their children. Moms would go out of their way to make their kids happy because they love them so much. Perhaps this theme stuck out to me more because of the weekend my family experienced. All I know is that I needed to do whatever I could to protect my children and take their sadness away. In the end, the message they received from me was the same as its been in the past: their dad loves them deeply. Just because he is away a lot it is not by choice. He does it so we can remain where we are, to have the lifestyle that we do, and so that they (the kids) can remain in a safe, nuturing environment surrounded by the friends they have made over the years.
When I woke up this morning I continued to think about this book and it’s various interpretations. And, with the dawn of a new day, I saw a message completely different than I did yesterday. Perhaps this book, the tree, represents Mother Nature. Could the story even be a warning about greedily using Mother Nature’s resources? It is there for the taking, asking little in return. We need to protect our environment and use its resources judiciously, or there will be nothing left. We also need to appreciate the gifts we are given, and be careful not to take more than we give.
Regardless, I strongly believe that every household should have a copy of The Giving Tree.