The Giving Tree
Sometimes we give, and no one seems to notice.
To me, the children’s book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, is about that. It’s the story of a boy and a tree that is always there for him. Throughout the boy’s life, the boy uses the tree for shade. He climbs it. He eats its fruit. He carves his initials, and those of his sweetheart, into the tree’s trunk. When he wants to make a new life, the boy uses the wood from the tree to build a boat to sail away. Years later, as an old man, the boy returns and sits on the stump of the tree that he had left behind.
In my twenties, I thought this was a beautiful story of unconditional love.
In my thirties, I wasn’t so sure I looked at the boy and saw his selfish taking. The tree began to look like people I knew who became “victims” because they never said “no” to anyone’s request.
I came to realize that the story is perfectly told.
The difference between a victim and a Nelson Mandela is a choice in the mind of the giver.
We choose unconditional love or choose to be a victim. The response of the one who receives doesn’t enter into the decision. Many who were helped by Nelson Mandela showed and felt no response to his gift. Yet he didn’t become the victim.
That one choice by Nelson Mandela so inspires me to make the same kind of choices in my own far less burdensome situations.
Sometimes we give and no one seems to notice. That doesn’t matter. Does it?
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you’re ready to change the world, send me your thoughts in a guest post. Feel free to take the gorgeous Change the World image up there that Sandy designed back to your blog. Or help yourself to this one.
Email me about what you’re doing or what we might do. Let’s change the world one bit at a time together. Together it can’t take forever.