The Pioneer Woman recently posted about Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree. She loves the book, and about 98% of the people who commented said that they cry like a baby when they read it. Having great sentimental value, most people cherish the simple story.
I, on the other hand, have a hard time with it. It makes me profoundly sad. I'm not sure if I am sadder for the tree who gives until she is a stump and gets nothing in return or for the boy who never learns to give. Perhaps, I don't really understand it's meaning. Is the tree God? Is the tree a mom? Does is speak to the selfishness of humanity or of unconditional love? Or is it a completely dysfunctional relationship?
Maybe it's because it can be interpreted in so many ways, that it is a "good" piece of literature. Maybe we can learn from it depending on where we are in our own personal journeys. I really have no idea... that's why I asked my friends on Facebook.
I really liked the interpretation Steve gave...
"A metaphor and allegory of two kinds of people, those who take, and those who give. Those who seek only to please themselves wind up bitter, alone, and coming back to those who give. Those who give are portrayed as having a seemingly endless wealth of creativity and imagination, while those who take merely consume, consume and consume. Peace!"
Even if I gave and gave until I was only a little stump at the end of my life, I think I'd still rather do that than be a lonely, bitter consumer.
Erma Bombeck once said,
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".
I like that.
And I am left with a question... How do you teach children to be more like the tree than the old man?