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I believe we have two families.  The first, we are born with.  Or adopted into, if you like.  This family is one we can’t escape, and one who forms...

Family redefined

March 5, 2015

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Favorite books: The Giving Tree

January 2, 2020

During the month of January this year, I am going to share with you some of my favorite books and why I love them.  I don't have a fully formed list yet, but most likely, these books are going to be children's books.  Why? Because I love a well-formed tale with a lesson, and nothing beats a beautifully illustrated book.  When I was teaching, I regularly used children's books to illustrate a point or highlight a particular concept I wanted to really stick.  

 

So, story time.  

 

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TZCP6OqRlE

 

Now I know, there are a lot of negative opinions about this book.  Environmentalists hate that the tree is cut down; the boy is selfish, self-involved, and narcissistic; co-dependency; etc. 

 

Let me tell you why I love this book: it illustrates the pure joy of giving.  And the gift doesn't have to be a physical thing; it can just be the presence of another (loved one).  The tree embraces selfless love and unquestioning generosity ... just like a parent, just like a friend.  I'm not suggesting that self-sacrifice (as the tree exemplifies) is necessarily a good thing, nor a sustainable thing.  Clearly, this is a children's story, and in that sense, perhaps things are a bit exaggerated.  But.  Selfless generosity is a rare and beautiful quality, right?

 

We humans spend a lot of energy (and money, frankly) pursuing happiness.  What if happiness came from just being and enjoying?  What if happiness came from the joy of being with a friend?  What if we found the happiness in our own hearts?  Stuff and having more stuff does not make us happy; it just gives us cluttered cupboards.  

 

I hope you have a tree in your life.  

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