Dear Shel Silverstein,
Recently, I heard this quote ‘If you light a lamp for someone it will also brighten your path” (Unknown). When I was little I never really payed attention to the words I heard from a book although I could quote some of the pages as my mom read them When I was Me, it wasn’t about finding a message from the book and using it in my own life. To me it was just a game. Listen to mom read and then pretend to go to bed, and when she would check on me, close my eyes and be quiet. It wasn’t until the night that my dad read The Giving Tree that I actually started to pay close attention. It changed my life forever.
Thank you so much for writing your book. If it weren’t for The Giving Tree, I would have never become who I am today. Not only did it teach me that to be happy you have to make others happy, it also taught me one of the greatest lessons anyone could leam in life. You can never judge someone by who you think they are; you have to know them first. When I reread your book a few weeks ago, it stood out to me just like it did the day my dad read it to me. "I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money?" "I'm sorry," said the tree, "but I have no money. I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy." This really jumped out at me. Not only did the tree try to make this boy happy when he was being selfish and being needy, she gave up really important things just for him I sat there and struggled with the fact that he was so rude and didn’t even think about the tree, yet the tree had no problem helping him All I could manage to do was think bad things about this boy, but after thinking, I realized that for whatever reason it may be, the tree saw something good in him and still gave him what he asked for. I had judged him all wrong the whole time.
The night my dad walked into my room, set up a camera, and read The Giving Tree to me I do remember sitting in my bed and not listening. He looked up at me and asked if I was listening, and I shyly giggled and said, “No.” Of course, my dad understood the message of the book and wanted me to also, so he looked at me and told me that he wanted me to be the good little girl that he knew, and he wanted me to listen. At that point in my life, I looked up to my dad more than anyone, so I wanted to be just like him, and I listened. After he read the book, he had a long discussion with me about what he had read. I still couldn’t focus though. I asked my dad why he was video taping me, and he said, “Because one day you will be happy to see all of the old memories.” After that, I started to listen as he told me all about when he was little and the fun things he did and what made them so fun. I watch that video periodically, and it reminds me that my dad found his joy in giving. Now, I’m a teenager and my dad lives out of state. I no longer see him more than once a year, and it never crossed my mind to watch that video until I chose this book to write about. I watched it in hopes that I could feel the emotion my dad felt as he watched me grow so much in one night. Lucky me, I got to. It made me realize that at one point what was a simple book about a boy and a tree made me want to be just like the tree.
All it takes is one simple act of giving to make you and everyone around you happy. You could be giving to a homeless shelter or even putting money in a jar for someone trying to raise money for the firefighters. It doesn’t matter what the deed is or whatever reason you may have done it. What really counts is the fact that you took that twenty seconds to drop money into a jar or the five minutes where you pulled aside the so called “nerd” just to ask what’s wrong and to try and help. Whether we’re giving an item or even a simple smile, we can change the world. That’s something I learned after reading The Giving Tree. Thank you!