Thursday, October 3, 2019

"When you have more, you have less."

"When you have more, you have less." ~ New London-Spicer 2nd Grade Student

Today I had the opportunity to read a story to Mrs. Gramstad's second grade students. The book I chose was one of my all time personal favorites, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. This book has been interpreted to teach many different lessons throughout the years. Today's experience opened my eyes to a new interpretation, one I found to be pretty profound.

When I finished reading The Giving Tree today, I asked the students, "What lesson does this story teach us?" They were informed that there was no wrong answer as their interpretation was the correct interpretation. The first second grader I called on said, "When you have more, you have less." For those of you that have read the book, you probably understand the correlation. For those of you that have not, I'll attempt to explain.

In the story, Shel Silverstein follows a young boy and his relationship with a tree. Throughout the boy's life, he has many interactions with the tree in which he asks for various gifts and the tree obliges. In the end, the tree is reduced to just a stump as it provides it's one final gift to the boy, a resting place.

The correlation that I drew from this second grader's perceived meaning was that as each gift was provided, there was less to receive upon his return. When the apples were gone, they were gone. When the branches were gone, they were gone. When the trunk was gone, it was gone. Each of those gifts were never to be received again as they no longer existed. 

Now you might ask, "What is so profound about that?" Well, here's my attempt to explain it. The boy in the story felt the material gifts were of great value throughout the time with the tree until the end.  It is then he realizes that the one constant in each return was the relationship with the tree. In essence, when he took a moment to reflect, he recognizes, "when you have more, you have less." In this case it was a positive and lasting relationship. Sometimes it takes a journey and reflection to know what you're looking for. You can learn a lot from a second grader!

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