Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication


Date of this Version



Haddad, B. & Hock, G. (Eds.). (2021). Maintaining the fence: establishing and reclaiming your boundaries. The Agricultural Education Magazine, 93(4). 01%20--%20January%20February.pdf


We probably know the story--in fact, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is one of my husband’s favorite books from his childhood. Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite childhood authors too. I recently came across an insert for this book that focused on the tree setting boundaries. The tree said, “no,” and told the boy to find his own way. Of course, The Giving Tree fans will tell you that isn’t the message of the story. Shel Silverstein didn’t really do interviews, but the general consensus is the book is about the boy’s selfishness, and the tree’s selfless giving. Throughout the book, the boy was selfish. And for most of the book, the tree was happy. Until she wasn’t. How often do we see The Giving Tree play out in our own lives? We’re happy to give, until we’re not. We give our students our time, our talent, sometimes even our families, and we find joy in these things.