It was already a wonderful moment. I was sitting with my grandson reading to him from the book “The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
But in my haste to use the story to teach Tyler an important life lesson, I almost missed the most important lesson of all.
The Giving Tree is a brilliantly written story about the relationship between a little boy and a tree. The book follows the life of the boy from childhood to old age as the tree unhesitatingly gives of herself to satisfy the boys ever growing needs. The tree gives apples, leaves, branches and finally its trunk so the boy can have money a boat a house, etc. Each time the tree gives the boy a gift, the author writes, “And the tree was happy.”
In the final pages, the boy (now an old man) meets the tree one last time. The tree sadly states she has nothing left to give because only a stump remains. But the boy wants only “a quiet place to sit and rest,” which the stump can provide. As the boy who is now an old man sits, this final stage of giving and the entire story, end with that same sentence “And the tree was happy.”
I was intent on getting to the end of the book so that my grandson Tyler would learn lessons about generosity, greed, love and sacrifice. But Tyler kept turning back to a single page. On that page was a drawing of the boy wearing a crown made from leaves given by the tree so the boy could play king of the forest. At least a half a dozen times he insisted on returning to that page.
This was it!
This was the moment I almost missed. I closed the book and took my grandson by the hand. We grabbed a roll of scotch tape and marched out into a brisk fall afternoon. On the deck lay thousands of leaves. The other lessons I wanted Tyler to learn would come later. This moment was made for grandpa to crown his grandson with leaves and pronounce him King of the Forest.
I captured the moment in a photo and later reproduced it in watercolor. But in my haste to accomplish my agenda, I almost missed the moment.
Listen and watch closely for those once in a lifetime moments
Capture them immediately
They pass all to quickly
Today, Tyler is 6 years old. He no longer wants to be king of the forest. Today he wants to be captain of the seas.
I hope I don’t miss the moment.