Today, teachers were starting to decorate their doors for Read Across America with their favorite book. A friend had done her best to recreate The Giving Tree. We talked, joked about her door (a plain white paper with the man and tree stump) when she said, “it needs some color, don’t you think?”
I agreed, and she decided to add a quote from the book, “…and the tree was happy” using red marker because the apples in the tree were red. I laughed saying it was a great connection that no one would get but us.
We continued to talk about decorating doors and laugh. I remarked, We need more of this (in reference to her “…and the tree was happy quote”). While we were having this positive, enjoyable interaction, I started playing with ideas for my door and I believe I have a great one. Many of the best ideas and lessons and ideas come from positive interactions.
That message from the Giving Tree really hit me as I walked out of the room. The like many educators, the tree is continuously giving to the boy. It was always giving of itself to ensure the boy had what he needed. Educators are akin to this in many ways, except it seems increasingly in the last and most important part of the book, being happy. Teachers give of themselves constantly, as do other education professionals. Where we fall short is that the tree is happy with her sacrifice. She is happy to know that her actions enabled a better life for someone else.
I don’t see enough of this in my day to day teaching around my school. I don’t see enough people who are happy because they are giving to make other lives better. We need more happy. Not happy because something went well or we were recognized, but happy in our sacrifice, in the growth of others. We all need to bring that happy to our schools and build the positive attitudes for those around us.