The Giving Tree is a classic children’s book by Shel Silverstein, perfect for all ages. It is also an excellent example of how we should act as we make our way through life.

Image of The Giving Tree book cover.
The Giving Tree.
Photo courtesy of GoodReads

I loved the book The Giving Tree as a kid. The story and the illustrations were magical to me, always keeping me occupied studying them. The Giving Tree is also an important staple in children’s literature for the lessons it teaches us. Here are four of the key lessons I learned from The Giving Tree.

4 Lessons From The Giving Tree

1. It’s Better to Give Than to Receive

Throughout the entire book, the tree gives to the boy and expects nothing in return. We see her give constantly until she has nothing left, but she still ends up happy. This is an excellent lesson, showing us that giving is a much more rewarding experience in life.

2. Our Selfishness can Lead to Unhappiness

The boy was selfish throughout the book, constantly taking without giving back to the tree. Although he kept taking and only thinking of himself and his happiness, he never truly found happiness, which is a profound lesson that being selfish is not a path to take in life.

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3. Always say “Please” and “Thank you”

Throughout the book, the boy showed no genuine gratitude (at least outwardly) to the tree, never uttering a “please” or “thank you” in response to her gifts. This is an excellent lesson for us to always be polite and say please and thank you, appreciating what others are doing for us.

4. Don’t Take Your Loved Ones for Granted

This is possibly the most important lesson of all. The tree always loved the boy unconditionally, giving him anything she could. Although he may have appreciated it in his own way, he certainly took her for granted, constantly taking from her without so much as a thanks. She gave so much of herself away that he could no longer take, at which point he realized too late that he had not learned any lesson and taken her for granted.