The Giving Tree

“And the boy loved the tree…. very much.
And the tree was happy. “

Shel Silverstein


So last meeting, we had this activity in our EDR 121 class. We discussed about “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. After reading about it in class, Teacher Hazel gave us a bunch of Engagement Activities in relation to the Giving Tree.

We were asked to write something like “Echo “<3’s” ______.” A lot of jokes were thrown here and there about it being the Season of Love since it’s February and it would be best to put a name of a special someone there. But instead of doing so (not that I’m a killjoy or anything), I instead chose to put the name of my little brother.

My little brother is truly special to me. Just to give you a little bit of background, I have been an only child for 17 years until my father passed away and my mom eventually had another partner and when I was 19, she had bore a child with her partner. Thus, my little brother was born. I named him Samuel David named after two Biblical characters — David, the greatest king of Israel and Samuel, the prophet who anointed David to become king. Or you can just call him, SAMDAVE for short. Haha. 😉

The reason I gave him those names was because my brother was born with Down Syndrome and also with an imperforate anus. This was largely due to the fact that my mom did not know she could still get pregnant during that time and she didn’t know she was pregnant until the child was 3 months old. She was taking medication for Diabetes during that period and realized it very late that she was indeed bearing a child.

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So enough with that very dramatic background. But truly, having another child in the family from being the only child for 19 years is a different experience. Despite challenges and troubles faced during the early years, it proved to be very fruitful for me to have him as my brother. Repeatedly, he has always been the joy of the family. Despite cognitive challenges and late development, he proved to be uniquely intelligent and irresistibly sweet in his own ways.

So instead of being so cheesy and romantic with another person during this season, I chose to dedicate this particular blog post to him.

Now, instead of taking photos of each of the pages of the activity, I chose to share photos of my little bro instead (I can just submit the paper copy anyways. Haha).

Nevertheless, going back to the Giving Tree illustration, it touched me in a way that I was able to relate to the tree relative to my brother. How I can be like the tree — giving, giving and giving. Never tiring, truly happy, always loving. It may be unreciprocated vocally and in the same manner, but those things don’t matte to me. The important thing for me is to show that I love him and will always be there for him, through whatever experiences we may have.

 

And of course, also, I was able to relate it to some of the relationships I’ve had growing up. I’ve encountered several friends that I thought to be lasting only to find out they have never treated me as such and only viewed me as “the-guy-you-can-always-go-to-when-you-need-something-but-never-treated-as-a-friend.” But that’s for another story. Perhaps I’ll have some chance to share it in class or in another blog post but who knows? 😉

How about you? Have you read the giving tree? How has it affected you? Would be glad to know some of your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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The Child That Books Built

It seems pretty repetitive of me to say that, “I haven’t posted in a while.” And while I struggled to keep my blog flowing with regular content (as I’m a feeler-rather-than-a-thinker-kind of guy.) I do indeed have the stories and topics in my mind. But because of my usual weekly schedule, I fail to put them all in writing.

However, things changed a little bit now as I do have a more constant motivation due to my EDR 121: Children’s Literature class.

I honestly didn’t think too much of the course at first. I honestly had no idea what to do or what to study about it even but our first day in class went different from what I imagined it would be. It was more interesting, more interactive, more fun, than I thought. And to think, we’re just getting started!

So basically, I’m writing again, this time as an assignment given to us by our Professor in the course. It got me thinking: “Do I really just write on my blog as an assignment?! That’s the easiest thing ever!” It’s just funny how things turn out. Doing what you love and learning at the same time. So without further ado, I’ll cut down to the chase.

We were given this particular homework, entitled The Child that Books Built hence the title of this particular topic. We were tasked to write a Reflective Essay relating to a story given here. Now, I’m not entirely sure if the story was a real life story based on our Professor’s childhood (it may have been mentioned, but perhaps I failed to listen to that specific bit of information) or something made up entirely, but I found the question at the bottom quite intriguing. It went something like this:

Now, if I were to ask you: “How much of an impact has children’s literature had in your life?”

Intriguing for me because I thought, “Hey! Have I really had that much exposure to children’s literature?” I mean, we’re not a very well off family at first so I had a few books. What little books I had were usually Encyclopedia because my mom and dad wanted me to grow up to be a doctor. Up until I found this stash that I have almost completely forgotten about. I realized that I’ve been drowning in Children’s Literature since time immemorial!

Okay. Yes. Some of this perhaps aren’t considered as Children’s Literature per se (maybe?) but these are some of the stories and/or songs that really impacted me as a child.

In these series of books. I began to distinctly remember pictures inside these books portraying my favourite Disney characters scattered throughout different time periods and situations. One personal favourite was Mickey and Minnie seemingly trapped in the period of the dinosaurs.

This next one, though I’m not entirely sure if this encompasses what can be considered as children’s literature but these are my materials and piano pieces for nursery rhymes and children’s songs during my childhood days while I was studying in Yamaha learning the piano.

When I saw this, a nostalgic song popped into my head. It goes something like this.

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by half than the old man himself
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more

It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born
And was always his treasure and pride
But it stopped, short never to go again
When the old man died

Ninety years without slumbering
His life seconds numbering
It stopped, short never to go again
When the old man died

My grandfather said that of those he could hire
Not a servant so faithful he found
For it wasted no time and had but one desire
At the close of each week to be wound

And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face
And its hands never hung by its side
But it stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died

It rang and alarmed in the dead of the night
An alarm that for years had been dumb
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight
That his hour for departure had come

Still the clock kept the time with a soft and muffled chime
As we silently stood by his side
But it stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died

Ninety years without slumbering
His life seconds numbering
It stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died

— My Grandfather’s Clock

Little did I know that this song was not a nursery rhyme but an actual proper song. (Not that nursery rhymes aren’t proper songs but you get what I mean) This was one of the songs I particularly loved during my childhood days and again, I remembered distinctly how I always felt so sad when I hear this.

Perhaps, you could already identify here that there is no ONE specific story that really affected me but multiple stories in actuality. Though if I had to pick one, I’d say it’s one of the stories in these Filipino-written books. With the Filipino versions of their foreign counterparts.

Can you guess in which of these books this particular story that I chose is in?

Well, if you watch a bit of BBC’s Sherlock, and feel that you can do some deductions like they do, you can easily infer, by looking at what particular direction I favor — in this case, the right hand side. Clearly because I’m right-handed which would suggest that the most probable choice for me is to subconsciously put the book I like most at the right side of my field of vision.

Nah, just messing with you. But if you read that gobbledygook that I just wrote above, using Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice, you’d get the joke behind it. Hahaha. Sorry. My blog, my rules. Kidding. Not really. Haha.

But yes, the story was inside the book “Pabula.” It’s just mere coincidence that I put it on the right hand side when I took a photo of it.

Again, sorry for my sanguine approach. But moving on, the specific story is about the Turtle and the Hare. In this particular case, it’s version is about “Ang Usa at ang Palaka.” primarily perhaps because deer and frogs are more common here in our nation than Rabbits and Turtles.

Why this story? I don’t know if you’d believe me but, young as I am, I found this story interesting because it’s not always about the strong ones, the gifted ones, the bigger ones. It’s about the frog, outwitting the deer in a race by using some mind tricks and intellect and just a teensy bit of deception. Haha.

You see, I was bullied a lot when I was a kid. Because, as unseemly as it may seem, I was small back then. Wayyyyyy smallllllleeeeeeeerrrr than I am now.

So I thought, when I read this story, I’ll indulge myself in books, knowledge, encyclopedia, other books above my “grade level” because I believed with all my heart that in the end, those with the brains will eventually overtake those with just brawn and their bodies. Bodies can be trained easily. But minds can’t be trained the same way our bodies are.

This story prompted me to invest in my knowledge. As a kid, I took pride in being the most active participant in class. The class know-it-all when I was a kid. It bore fruit of course. In my academic standings, etc. but the bullying still continued up until I got my growth spurt in high school.

Well, I won’t delve too much into the next details after that. But I’ll try my best to tell that story another time.

I’d be glad to hear from you guys what your thoughts are as well! Also, do you have some Children’s Literature you’d love to reminisce and talk about? Feel free to comment down below. Until next time. Ta ta!