how universal of an experience is having the giving tree read to you as a small child and being distraught even tho the teacher seemed to think it was a nice story. also is this a gendered phenomenon. do girlchildren know on some level that they’re the tree not the little boy
Children designated as “gifted and talented” frequently melt down because of this story. Boys and girls both. I’ve heard many G&T educators say they don’t bring The Giving Tree or The Rainbow Fish into their classrooms at all because of it.
Wow, what is it about gifted and talented kids that makes those stories hit them so hard?
Because those stories are innately about what to do with gifts and talents, and in the case of those particular books, children often interpret them as “give up all sense of self and bodily autonomy, and carve yourself to pieces to make other people like you.”
^ That last comment really succinctly illustrates 90% of my mental health issues.
Yesterday, I was in yet another deep spiral of self loathing, and the CORE of it stems from this very fucking message. If I’m not saying ‘yes’ to everyone, I’m selfish and mean. No one will love me if I say ‘no’. If I’m not valuable to others, I’m worthless. If I’m better than others at something, I can’t be proud of it, it would be rude. Give give give give give. I cannot make demands of others without feeling guilty. I can’t speak my mind against others. I freeze up. I tumble into depression and dark thoughts to the point where I cannot function. I have the worst form of imposter syndrome: Am I a nice person? I can’t be. A nice person would just suck it up and keep going. Stop complaining. This anger that you feel? It’s wrong. You have to forgive and shut up. Their feelings mean more important than your own. They said something terrible, it’s not their fault. It can’t be. They are stressed. If you stand up for yourself you are just ignoring their pain. You need to be the bigger person, even if it’s killing you.
The tree gives so much it destroys itself, and we as kids are taught that self-destructive behavior that solely benefits others is not just admirable–it’s correct.