Life can be hard and so damn complicated, but we have the choice to either be selfish or selfless. We know that saying “please” and “thank you” is always the right thing to do and sometimes it might just be enough.
Not too long ago, I was reading my daughter the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. The book follows the lives of a female apple tree and a boy who develop a relationship with one another. The tree is very giving and the boy grows into a “taking” teenager, man and finally, elderly man.
As a child, the boy enjoys playing with the tree, climbing her trunk, swinging from her branches, and eating her apples. But, as the boy grows older, he spends less time with the tree and visits her only when he wants material items. In an effort to make the boy happy at each of these stages, the tree gives him parts of herself, like her leaves and branches. The man returns tired, and elderly and requests a “quiet place to sit and rest”. All she had left was the stump for him to sit on, and even still she was happy.
The Giving Tree may be a children’s book but we can all learn from the story’s central theme, which is that it is better to give than receive. Despite taking so much, the boy was never satisfied or happy, while the tree, who gave everything, was fulfilled and content to the end.