The Key to Thanksgiving Happiness

The Giving Tree

Once there was a tree.

Well, multiple trees.

The trees around my childhood home were alive in a sense of mysticism and imagination.

They each displayed a personality and a sense of responsibility.

There was a Leader: the large and mighty Locust.

There was a Protector: the Hemlock on the hill with lots of branches to climb.

There was a Nurturer: the Oak that showered the lawn with acorns.

And there were many more.

I spent my winters, springs, summers, and autumns surrounded by these trees. I would play in their arms, talk to their trunks, and use their leaves and their fruits to create magical worlds of wonder.

And then I grew up.

This past week at work, my resident’s read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein during a wilderness education session I was leading. I opened the floor for discussion after the story ended, hoping to embark on a conversation of environmental wellness.

I received a much different response.

“That tree just kept giving even after it was tired and lonesome and empty. It kept giving because giving made it happy.”

Hmmmm. I had planned my discussion topics around sustainability and gratitude.

But giving? How often do we talk about the emotional aspects of giving?

It’s true. The story repeats over and over and over again, “And the tree was happy.”

My residents were onto something. We must receive in order to feel thankful.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, we tend to reflect on our gratitude and the many blessings we have seen over the past year. We cherish friends and families. We value our homes and the feast on our tables.

But what about those who have less to say “thank you” for?

This holiday season, can you give a gift of time or material in order to provide someone else with the opportunity to say, “Thank you.”

Be the Giving Tree.

The End.

And the tree was happy. Shel Silverstein

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