Remember Shel Silverstein? You know, the famous Jewish author who write the beloved children’s book “The Giving Tree?” Well, apparently, someone in Oakland, California loves the book so much, they wrote the final passage of the book on a tree stump.
I love small gestures of creativity like this–because it not only brightens your day, but is a reminder we need. And that reminder is this: We can be kinder to each other and our selves. This particular passage also reminds us to rest, to take a break, and to look around at the present moment–and to be grateful for what we have, for being alive, for being present–and to take that moment to give back and to love.
Being present is an extremely hard thing to do–I can be terrible at it–we’re structured to be focused on what the “next thing is” before we’re done with what we’re doing now. Our kids are trained to be that way too–getting good grades in order to get into middle school, high school, college, and so forth. When I was a teacher, I saw this all the time–and saw how kids forgot about the present.
The book, which is about a boy and a tree, was published in 1964. It’s not necessarily a happy book—the tree gives and gives and gives, and the boy mostly takes until he decides he’s satiated. Silverstein himself said of the book, “It’s about a boy and a tree. It has a pretty sad ending.”
The fact that the book is so nuanced, and full of complexities, is why so many people still love it. The photo was also posted on Reddit, where many users commented on how much the book meant to them:
“Growing up (and even now) my mom gave all she had for me and my siblings. As a son of a single mom, this book makes me cry too. Heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.”
Check out this video of the book being read aloud: