Saturday, October 27, 2012
A Difference of Opinion at a Dinner Party
The Giving Tree is a tale about a relationship between a young boy and a tree. The tree always provides the boy with what he wants: branches on which to swing, shade in which to sit and apples to eat. As the boy grows older, he requires more and more of the tree. The tree loves the boy very much and gives him anything he asks for. In an ultimate act of self-sacrifice, the tree lets the boy cut it 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 sadly says: "I'm sorry, boy... but I have nothing left to give you." But the boy replies: "I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest." The tree then says, "Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down and rest." The boy obliges and the tree is very happy.
Guest One at a dinner party said this story was a family favorite, handed down to the next generation as an example of selflessness. No story ever made more of an impression on her children. The book was a popular gift at baby showers and birthdays. Giving is the most important thing to learn.
Guest Two said, she hated this story. For her, the tree was a mother. A mother that was expected to give everything until she was all used up and completely spent. Shouldn't the child have seen this before the tree became a stump. Wasn't the tree's happiness a form of masochism?Or sadism on the part of the child?
Both of these women are giving, caring, lovely people. How can they differ so much? Is the tree a mother? Does the tree teach selflessness?
What do you think?