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To Give or Not to Give in The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Decent Essays
In his early childhood, a boy spends his time playing with his favorite tree, climbing its trunk, and swinging from its branches. As the boy approaches adolescence, he desires money and the tree yields its apples for him to sell. At adulthood, he yearns for a home and the tree offers its branches for the man to build his home. At middle age, he asks the tree for a boat and the tree offers its trunk, which the man cuts to build his boat. During his final years, the old man asks the tree for a quiet place to sit and rest, and the tree offers its stump.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a simple story but one that poignantly illustrates the complex philosophical discussion concerning the act of giving and taking. The inimitable
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So how do we begin the journey of giving wisely? We suggest that clients begin with self-discernment.
• Why do you wish to give?
• What values or principles do you and your family hold dear? What are some of the ideas, persons, or events that molded you?
• To whom do you want to give, and why? What impact would you want your giving to have on others? What do you expect to gain from your family giving?
• How much time and personal involvement do you want to commit to your giving?
These questions flush out the motivations and values underlying the gift and reveal its intent. Understanding each other’s personalities, the compatibility of goals, and the interpersonal abilities helps participants collaborate for the benefit of a shared vision. The philosophy behind your giving can become vulnerable and unprotected without a clearly defined intent. Trust agreements, wills, and articles of incorporation may be insufficient to ensure fidelity to your philanthropic mission. Donors investing the necessary time to consider these questions lay a strong foundation for defining a shared vision and framework that will help fuel the act of giving, in a manner that is both constructive and enduring for generations.
Now that you’ve discovered and clarified your values and motivations, the next step is to articulate your philanthropic purpose through a
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