The Giving Tree

Parental influence on children in the first 12 years of their lives have a permanent effect. Unfortunately, children come with no user manual. Each child is different from the other. Discuss how to handle emotional and educational needs of your child here.

The Giving Tree

Postby ChiefKiasu » Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:45 pm

Just came back from a MindChamps parenting strategy session. There was a mention of a 1964 children's book by Shel Silverstein called "The Giving Tree".

Image

Synopsis from Wikipedia:
"The story is a short moral tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree in a forest. The tree and the boy become best friends. The tree always provides the boy with what he wants: branches to swing from, shade to sit under, apples to snack on, branches to build a house. As the boy grows older and older he requires more and more of the tree. The tree loves the boy very much and gives him anything he asks for. In the ultimate act of self-sacrifice, the tree lets the boy cut her down so the boy can build a boat in which he can sail. The boy leaves the tree, now a stump. Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns and the tree says "I have nothing left to give you". The boy replies that all he needs is a quiet place to sit and rest as he awaits death. The tree happily obliges."

The story struck me to the core... it was such a clear and powerful description of ourselves who grew from children dependent on our parents, to being parents ourselves. There are those that see the boy as being totally selfish, and the tree as being a most irresponsible parent who never learnt to say no to their children. Yet as Prof Timothy Jackson of Stanford University best put it:
"Is this a sad tale? Well, it is sad in the same way that life is sad. We are all needy, and, if we are lucky and any good, we grow old using others and getting used up. Tears fall in our lives like leaves from a tree. Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised, however; it is what makes giving (and receiving) possible. The more you blame the boy, the more you have to fault human existence. The more you blame the tree, the more you have to fault the very idea of parenting. Should the tree's giving be contingent on the boy's gratitude? If it were, if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young, then we would all be doomed."

This is a great story which we should tell to our own children and listen to what they think of the parties in the story.

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Postby super_dad » Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:14 am

Pass me the hanky....*sob sob*...

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Putting on morning smile

Postby 1hkgood » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:56 am

The Giving Tree has but one difference; it gives no reason to commit. It exists for its own natural sake. Parents need to exist for children's sake (or life is simply not worth living) and therefore will, like every human being, drop to a low when the going gets tough. We as parents will never stop producing the extra ounce of energy to feed the children's need. Sadly, in a city filled with need and want to become more advance, children have no purpose for the gifts parents shower upon them. Today, they get the games, tomorrow, they get a perfect ice cream for a $1 by the MRT....between the two, the latter seems to give greater nourishment for their souls than all the material gifts put together. So there, keep the gifts simple.....the children will not want to 'chop our arm and leg to build their boats'...the tree cannot reason....we can. 8)

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Re: Putting on morning smile

Postby ChiefKiasu » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:16 pm

1hkgood wrote:The Giving Tree has but one difference; it gives no reason to commit. It exists for its own natural sake. Parents need to exist for children's sake (or life is simply not worth living) and therefore will, like every human being, drop to a low when the going gets tough. We as parents will never stop producing the extra ounce of energy to feed the children's need. Sadly, in a city filled with need and want to become more advance, children have no purpose for the gifts parents shower upon them. Today, they get the games, tomorrow, they get a perfect ice cream for a $1 by the MRT....between the two, the latter seems to give greater nourishment for their souls than all the material gifts put together. So there, keep the gifts simple.....the children will not want to 'chop our arm and leg to build their boats'...the tree cannot reason....we can. 8)


Wow... a very deep analysis... and I agree with your point that we should keep the gifts simple. But that gets harder with the affluence of our society. As a child, my dad was the world to me - I still remember those days when I was about 4 years old and he would walk me across the bridge over the small river in Mattar road to the hawker centre for a tao suan treat which was normally too hot for me to eat but I loved it anyway, and I remember those sessions even after all these years. My own son, however, would not touch tao suan, and gets bored within a minute of sitting down when we dine outside if he is not entertained by a portable game. Somehow, we are losing touch with the simple pleasures of life.

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Postby fo12eal » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:38 am

I read this book at Page 1. It's a rather sad story to me.

I didn't get the book (yet) also not sure if I will partly because I haven't thought of how I can story tell it to my child...

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Re: Putting on morning smile

Postby mumwgals » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:50 am

ChiefKiasu wrote: I still remember those days when I was about 4 years old and he would walk me across the bridge over the small river in Mattar road to the hawker centre


*side track*

Hey CKS, I walked across that bridge everyday during my primary sch. That one can be called a river meh, I thought is a big drain. ^_^

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Re: Putting on morning smile

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:22 am

mumwgals wrote:
ChiefKiasu wrote: I still remember those days when I was about 4 years old and he would walk me across the bridge over the small river in Mattar road to the hawker centre


*side track*

Hey CKS, I walked across that bridge everyday during my primary sch. That one can be called a river meh, I thought is a big drain. ^_^


Kekeke... it certainly looked like a river to me at 4yo. But you are right... it's just an oversized longkang. Also, I think that is where I may have developed my fear of height (agrophobia). That bridge was not much more than a few pieces of planks stitched together during those days.

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Re: Putting on morning smile

Postby mumwgals » Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:41 am

ChiefKiasu wrote:Kekeke... it certainly looked like a river to me at 4yo. But you are right... it's just an oversized longkang. Also, I think that is where I may have developed my fear of height (agrophobia). That bridge was not much more than a few pieces of planks stitched together during those days.


If we are talking about the same Mattar road hawer center, there should be a proper bridge further down from that plank bridge you took, but I guess your dad wanted to train you on your balancing skill. ; P

I miss that hawker center, is it still there? I went back a few years ago and some of the hawkers were still there.....

This showed how somethings we did with our parents left deep impression in our memories. I hope my daughters will re-call those things we do together when they grow up.

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Re: Putting on morning smile

Postby jedamum » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:27 pm

mumwgals wrote:That one can be called a river meh, I thought is a big drain. ^_^

maybe CKS couldn't differentiate bluish river water from brownish drain water... 8)

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Re: Putting on morning smile

Postby ChiefKiasu » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:50 pm

mumwgals wrote:If we are talking about the same Mattar road hawer center, there should be a proper bridge further down from that plank bridge you took, but I guess your dad wanted to train you on your balancing skill... I miss that hawker center, is it still there? I went back a few years ago and some of the hawkers were still there.....


It's the same hawker centre... except maybe not the same bridge. My memories of that bridge is between 1968-1972. Yes, incredibly, some of the stores are still there, especially the desert store. The daughter of the store took over from her parents. It has been there for more than 40 years! And prices are still as low. Some things don't get inflated.

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