A reader writes:
One of your readers wrote of my comment:
The Giving Tree is clearly a parable about parenthood, i.e true love. The irony of your readers telling their child never to be a “tree” is that parents are “trees” themselves. Good parents love their children so deeply they willingly sacrifice to make them happy.
A good parent doesn’t give in to a child’s every whim and demand. A good parent puts limits on their child, and raises a child who can grow into an independent, responsible adult. A good parent disciplines a poorly-behaved child. It is the poor parent who “sacrifices” to give in to a child’s every selfish desire and is well on his/her way to starring on an upcoming episode of “Supernanny”.
The metaphor that the Tree is a parent only works until the Boy reaches adulthood. Because once we’re adults, we should NOT be sponging off our parents to that extent. We should have their love and emotional support, I hope, but at some point the tree should be allowed to enjoy her own branches and her own TRUNK, for goodness’s sake.
If the Tree is the parent, then the Boy has sold his mom’s house to pay for his condo in the city, and raided her retirement account to pay for his yacht. And now that he’s old and broke and his third trophy wife has left him (and without even any grandchildren), he’s returned to his mother’s tiny apartment and wants to move back in with mom. And she lets him.
No, I’m sorry, that’s not parental love or parental sacrifice. That’s enabling a user.