The Giving Tree


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I gave a speech about the Giving Tree for the Toastmasters Stortelling Manual, project# 1. This was one of my favorite stroies as a kid and I shared it with my own kids (thanks to a gift from my youngest sister. I gave the speech once at my home club and once at a club in Frankfurt Germany.

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  • Picture from Wikipedia:
  • The Storytelling Manual provides lots of possiblity for Toastmasters to work on their storytelling abilities.
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  • As a kid I loved it when my mom or dad would take the time read to me and my sisters or tell us a story. While the story was important it wasn't nearly as important as my parents taking the time to tell us a story, or that they put a little something of themselves in the story. The Giving Tree was written by ShelSiverstein in 1964. It was one of my favorite books as a kid. My youngest sister gave a copy of it to my oldest daughter, so I've read it to my daughters a few times.
  • A book can change over the course of our lives. The meaning it has when you're younger changes as you have kids and your life changes.
  • As you tell the story you have the ability to use your voice so that the audience can eaisly distinguish between the tree and the boy. In this part of the story the tree is the center of the boy‘s world and the tree can not imagine that this relationship with change, nor that the boy will change...
  • When the boy wants money to buy stuff, the tree first thinks that it doesn‘t have any money but later realizes that the boy could sell the tree‘s apples and have money. You should start to notice that "And the tree was happy...“ is repeated throughout the story, so you can change your voice to add some emotion as you say this part and the audience will probably come to expect this line.
  • This is not the time where the boy has become a man and is trying to make his way in the world, so of course the boy is thinking about lots of other tings besides the tree. You can express the sadness of the tree when you say that "The boy stays away for a long time...“
  • Now the boy, really a middle-aged man at this point, wants a boat. The once vibrant tree becomes a stump so that her boy can have his boat. This is quite a scrafice. The tree gives the boy his boat, but this time the tree isn‘t really happy.
  • When the boy finally returns to the tree his is an old man. The tree has come to expect that the only time she sees her boy that he wants something so she initally responds back that she has nothing left to give. In the boy‘d old age the tree can offer him companionship, something that the tree has wanted all along and that the boy gave without reservation when he was a boy.
  • For those of us who are parents we can relate to the sacrifice of the tree, we'd do most anything for our kids, we want them to be happy and as they grow older we want to be part of their lives and to spend time with them. For those of us who aren't parents, maybe you can relate to a relationship that changed. Maybe you were the one trying to keep the relationship as it was, or maybe you were the one that was changing and looking for things beyond the relationship.
  • There has been some controversy about the interpretation of the story, is the tree self-sacrificing or merely selfless, and is the boy selfish or reasonable in his demands from the tress? Ultimately, you'll need to decide for yourself. How do you see the relationship between the tree and the boy?
  • After giving the speech at Esprit de Corps, a fellow Toastmaster suggested that she would have appoached the storytelling looking at the environmental aspects. I‘ve noted a few questions that the story raises to me what environmental questions does it raise to you?
  • The Giving Tree

    1. 1. The Giving Tree:Story Telling Project# 1Darryl Heron March, 2013
    2. 2. I gave a speech as part of Project #1 from theToastmasters Storytelling Manual which is the basisfor this presentation…..I gave the speech at my home club (Word Weavers ofWiesbaden, Germany) and at Esprit de Corps ofFrankfurt, GermanyThe speech at Esprit de Corps was a target speechused for their club evaluation contestAbout this Presentation
    3. 3. Shel Silverstein firstpublished The Giving Treein 1964.Lived from September 25,1930 to May 8, 1999 hewas 68 when he died3
    4. 4. As a kid loved I loved to be told & read stories by myparentsGood parents put a little of themselves in the storiesthey tell & readMy sister gave a copy to my oldest daughter & I‘ve readit to my daughtersIntroduction
    5. 5. Books‘ meaning can change as we changeThe story of „The Giving Tree“ is one that we can allrelate toThe story is more bittersweet for those of us with kidsIntroduction continued
    6. 6. As you experience the story you might think about theimpact of man on nature and the world around usHow do our decissions impact the world around us?What happens when all of our resources are no longeravailable for other people and nature to use?Now I begin the story, I hope that you enjoy it!One More Point
    7. 7. The Story…..
    8. 8. There once was a tree & she loved a boy very much…..The boy played with the tree every dayAnd the boy loved the treeAnd the tree was happy….
    9. 9. The boy becomes a teenager & visits less & lessoften…..The boy comes back & wants moneyTree has no money but offters her apples for the boy tosellBoy takes applesAnd the tree was happy….
    10. 10. The boy stays away a long time…..Now he wants a houseThe tree offers her branches to build a houseBoy takes branches & builds houseAnd the tree was happy….
    11. 11. The boy stays away along time…..He comes back & wants a boatTree offers trunk for boatBoy takes trunk and builds boatAnd the tree was happy….But not really….
    12. 12. After a long long time the boy returns…..Tree has nothing left to offer the boyBoy only wants to sit & restTree tells boy to sit & rest…Boy doesAnd the tree was happy….
    13. 13. Parents can relate to the scarfices of the tree, we‘d domost anything for them, we want them to be happy, &we want to be a part of their lives as they growolder…..Maybe you were in a relationship, either the onehanging on or the one looking for moreConclusion
    14. 14. Controversy about interpretation of ths story:Was the tree self-sacraficing or selfless?Is the boy selfish or reasonable in his demands from thetree?How do you see the relationship betwen the tree andthe boy?Conclusion Continued
    15. 15. What elements of the story ring with environmentaltopics that we talk about today?What role does stewardship play with people today?What is man‘s responsibility towards other people andnature?Are there other environmental questions that the storyraises for you?Environmental Impact of the Story?
    16. 16. I really like this project from the Storytelling manual. Icould see that the audience connected with the storyon the two times that I delivered it as a Storytellingspeech.I hope that you can find a story that you can deliver withheart and feeling, you‘ll then have a good chance toconnect with your audience...Final Words
    17. 17. About.me Heron‘s presentations onSlideShare me:mailto:darrylheron@about.meBe Sure to Check Out…