Monday, August 19, 2013

Giving or taking?

I was looking at some things on the Internet over the  weekend and I found this.  It's a picture of a wedding cake that was based on the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  Apparently the marriage couple both worked as elementary teachers and they thought this was a great theme for their wedding. 

My first thought was: What were they thinking??????

To base your wedding, your marriage, around a story about a dependent user and an enabler just seems crazy.  I know a lot of people think this book is sweet and teaches people to be generous.  Um, no.  It's a scary look into twisted unhealthy relationships.  I know everyone brings their own experiences into the books they read but I'm baffled how people think this is a good book, how they even read it to their children! I know I'm not the only one who thinks this way since I read the reviews on Goodreads.

I believe this is supposed to be a portrayal of a mother (or parent) child relationship.  I know that being a parent often feels like you have to give all of yourself to your children. And a parent should sacrifice for their children. But...maybe I'm just selfish here but really, isn't part of being a parent teaching your child how to do for themselves? At least, shouldn't it be? 

Really what I want to know is, why? Do you like the book and why or why not?  What do you see in it? I'd like to know. I want to see more than what I see, I'd like to hope that the world isn't so scary that people see this as normal. 


23 comments:

  1. You know, I always liked the book, but I totally see what you mean. It's very take-take-take, but hopefully the kids reading it will get the message of generosity and not selfishness.

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  2. It's been so long since I read it that I'd have to read it again before I could say whether I liked it or not.

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  3. I don't know the book, so I can't really comment. I do think it's good that a story can be interpreted in many different ways, though.

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  4. There is another very popular children's book, "Love You Forever" that most people think is endearing and sweet. Personally, I always found it a little creepy-- all that sneaking into houses to rock our adult children to sleep. Also, the kid flushes the watch down the toilet. No child should ever see that illustrated. ;) Seriously, I get the message of enduring and unconditional love, but it always struck me a bit odd too.

    Now I'm going to have to go back and reread this book!

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    1. I remember that book! I liked the sentiment of it (I think I will always be able to look at my children and see them as the baby they were) but the follow through was a little creepy. At least in that book the relationship goes both ways.

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  5. This is a really thought-provoking post.

    I liked the book when I read it, but I saw it from the perspective of an adult child who can see now how my parents sacrificed for me when I was too young to understand. Some sacrificial giving is enabling and some is not.

    I suppose the difference lies in which kinds of gifts the story represents. ;)

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  6. You know I really do like the book, but I'm also a huge Shel Silverstein fan anyway. Reading it as a child I remember being so moved by the tree's generosity and it's unwavering love for the little boy. In an extremely child-like way it was beautiful and an example of giving of oneself.

    As an adult, obviously that tree has issues. However, I still think it's a nice book for children to highlight generosity. It's kind of like children's movies that, when you watch them later as an adult, you wonder why your parents ever allowed you to watch it!

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    1. I do think children and adults might view the book different, and I do like books that teach generosity, I just don't think that book did. And generosity is a two way street. I would have liked to see a little more balance to the relationship.

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  7. I haven't read the book in years, but I remember being disturbed by the ending. I'll have to re-read it...

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    1. I guess it all depends on our mindset while reading it.

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  8. To be honest, I've never read that book. Perhaps I am in the minority (most likely). I don't have a proper opinion for you. Now, I want to read it just to see what you're talking about. Although, my opinion may be jaded now.

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    1. You might be jaded now. :) Though I will tell you that many, many people love it. Including the people that based their wedding around it.

      I personally just can't see any redeeming quality in it.

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  9. I haven't read the book but now I want to. There is a big problem in our society with kids being too dependent on their parents and their parents doing too much for them.

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  10. My daughter loved the book, but I've never read it. However, since I like Silverstein's poetry so much, I can't imagine not liking this book, too.

    As for the cake, it's over-the-top cool. Visually, it's just an amazing creation. Kinda unusual for a wedding cake, but whatever floats their boats. Obviously the bride and groom are free spirits, and I really like their initials "carved" in the tree.

    I have a picture of another wedding cake that's equally as unique and over-the-top. It's made to look like a pot of steamed crabs! Even has an edible can of Old Bay to go with it. Not exactly traditional, but I'm a fan of having wedding day fun, too.

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    1. The cake itself is amazing. Themed wedding cakes are becoming more and more common, and I think it's a cool idea. It's a fun way to make your day special.

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  11. I don't know the book either, but I'm generally not a good judge. I thought Messages in a Bottle was corny and I didn't like 50 Shades. I thought the young woman needed a smack upside the head. Plus the writing was work to get through. The cake is weird. Have you noticed, there are a lot of weird things and people out there. Oops, I can now hear my mother whispering, "Don't judge, dear." LOL

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  12. Interesting, Sara. I've seen this quite a few times on different blogs lately, but I didn't get a sense of what it was about. Now more than ever I'm intrigued!!!!

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    1. Really? I hate to be part of a trend....

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  13. Now you've piqued my curiosity. And I'm eager to read it.
    I think children need to learn independence and cannot expect parents to give, give, give IMHO.

    Writer In Transit

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    1. I think there's a stage (very young) where kids need to expect that because otherwise they don't have security and there are resulting issues that will haunt them for the rest of their life. But in general, kids do need to know that giving is a two way street.

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  14. I need to reread it. I remember liking it when I was younger, but the more I think about it the more I see what you're saying. That is a little freaky O_O

    At any rate, that's a super well done cake!

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  15. I'm sure I've read it but I can't remember it at all now. Must go read next time I'm in the library/bookstore! I'm intrigued by this strange new pov...

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