Growing up in rural Southern Indiana, there were few forms of entertainment. My grandmother was a high school English teacher who adored books; my mother was also an avid reader. Books have always been an important part of my life—I am very grateful that I am a “reader.”
I don’t typically hang on to a book once I’ve read it. However, there are a few staples I like to reread because of the moral. “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a classic and has long been one of my daughter’s favorite books. Like many other classic literary works, it comes with an important reminder for each of us: Bringing joy to another, even if it means giving something up, isn’t a sacrifice when you love someone.
“The Giving Tree” is one of the few books that remains on my bookshelf because the message serves as a powerful reminder about sacrifice and gratitude. I think we could all agree that the world could use a little more of those values these days.
We are entering the Season of Giving. In my opinion, this is not a “season,” but a year-round movement. However, this is the time of year when many take a moment to reflect on the past year: the impacts made, the successes, the failures. Maybe it should be called the Season of Contemplation.
In “The Giving Tree”, the tree never contemplates whether it should or should not provide for the boy throughout their lifetime. The Tree freely gives its bounties like shade, apples and branches to the boy. It serves as a place to rest for the boy-turned-elderly gentleman after its apples and branches and trunk were used. Silverstein’s crowning achievement is defining altruism in a fashion that can be easily comprehended by audiences of every age.