“The Giving Tree” as a Druidic Teaching Tool for Children and Adults

The cover of

Ah, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Perhaps a parent or teacher read this to you when you were younger, or perhaps your child borrowed it from the library or purchased it from a school book sale.  If you’re anything like me, the mere thought of this story makes you choke up a little. Just in case you need a refresher, or if you’ve never heard/read it before, you can see and hear it narrated by the author on Youtube.

This simple but poignant story about a boy and the generous tree is a wonderful teaching tool for children and adults alike.

As a parent, teacher, or grove organizer/leader, you can ask the children what they notice in the illustrations.  They’ll see the human child getting older and perhaps notice that the tree never stops referring to him as a boy.  “Why do you think that is?” you could ask.  Invite children to recall the various gifts the tree gives.  “Does the boy give anything back?”  Some may realize that the boy never even says thank you!

If you’re reading to children at a grove function, or if you decided to read this story before discussing nature awareness, the Nature Spirits, or the importance of reciprocity within Druidism with a group of adults, you can go into deeper discussion.  The tree could be a symbol for the Earth Mother while the boy symbolizes all of humanity.  You could meditate on the purity and simple desires of the child versus the more complex and arguable destructive wants/needs of the adult.  How can we be more like the child than the adult in the story?

Children and adults alike could make a personal connection.  “Do/did you have a special tree?  What kind of tree is it?  What does that tree give you?  How can you say thank you to the tree?”  This could become a brainstorming activity in which people think of individual or group projects to give back to the Nature Spirits.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

11 thoughts on ““The Giving Tree” as a Druidic Teaching Tool for Children and Adults

  1. I Love love love this book. when I read it now as an adult it makes me cry. I have a special oak tree I used to sit under as a child. When I found my craft I made my wand from one of her fallen branches. ❤ Poppy

    1. I had a feeling some of my readers would respond with their love of this book and experiences with trees! Thanks for sharing! It’s hard not to cry when you read it… And as for your wand, I bet you said thank you! 😀

      1. of course! even now I teach my child that when we take we show our gratitude. We always thank our plants when we take our herbs or veggies etc. its just good manners LOL

  2. This is a cool idea. And Poppy, you reminded me of a tree I talked to in late elementary school. I wonder if he is still there, or if he was cut down. Maybe someday I’ll go see…


      1. 🙂 I am planning on doing this in the warmer weather. I just need a ride to get there, which is the hard part, and I should probably visit after school hours so I don’t scare the teachers or anything.

  3. I planted a tree as a child. I think I see it from Google Earth. One day I shall visit it again to see how much it has grown. My little tree.

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