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This is one of those children books that I wasn’t sure if I read when I was in my college children’s lit class or not.  Since it is written by Shel Silverstein, I would be surprised that I didn’t read it, but I just couldn’t remember it.  I have always heard people talk about the book, but it just wasn’t jogging my memory.  So it found its way onto my list!  December 30, 2010…it’s about time I became acquainted with The Giving Tree!

A very simple story about a boy who grows up with a tree.   You get to follow the relationship between the boy and the tree through out the years and see just how much the boy asks of the tree (either verbally or just assuming it) and just how far the tree is willing to go in the giving.

I read some info about it after I read the book and I guess there are 2 camps of thought about the book.  I’ll let you do the research, but for the blog, I will just share my own thoughts. Okay?  Great!

My first thought was this story was about the sacrificial mom syndrome.  I had a very good friend many years ago who brought this idea up to me.  As stay at home moms, we gave and gave and gave to our children and never took the time to take care of ourselves.  In the end, that kind of giving  (even to those beautiful children whom we love so much) is harmful.  There comes a time, when we as parents need to say, “Honey, I just need a moment.”  or “No, Honey, I can’t get that for you because its jut not in the budget.”  There is no harm in saying “no” and it is certainly a lesson I have had to learn as a parent.

Honestly, I’m not certain if I like this book or not.  It is kind of sad..to me.  But to others, it may be like a warm hug.  It really is about perception, and you would have to read it for yourself to understand.  If you have read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts on the story.  It is just bitter-sweet for me.  I want to like it. I want to love it.  But I just can’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling about it.

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I am in the home stretch of my 52 books in 52 weeks The God Project blog..only 4 books to go, and I have chosen to finish up with 4 children’s books.  Two of them were already on my reading list, but the other 2 I found on the shelf and found to be very important reads.

My Princess Boy is one of them!

This year we have seen so  many young men kill themselves because of anti-gay bullying.  This brought on the “It Get’s Better” YouTube channel and project.  It spurred rallies all over the country.  And it really stirred me.  As I have said before in this blog, I was bullied my whole childhood.  I know what it is like.  I watched my own children get bullied for various reasons.  I have seen it from both ends, and its ugly.  So when I saw the title of this book, I HAD to pick it up and choose it for this blog!  The message is IMPORTANT and timely.

This book is a true story written by a mom who’s 4-year-old son loves to dress in girls clothing.  Instead of forcing her hand and saying..”No!  Little boys don’t dress that way!” she has embraced his creativity and reinforced her love for him.  As a  matter of fact, his whole family has embraced him and loves him for who he is and has no plans on changing him any time soon!  This is so refreshing!

Love & self-esteem start at home!  We as parents need to nurture our children and love them for who they are.  Give them the space to figure it out for themselves.  We need to be able to let go of what we think we want for our children and give them space to be themselves.  Why do we as parents insist on living through our children instead of letting them live their own lives with our loving support?  And it goes beyond what happens at home.  I know some parents will say, “Well its okay to dress like this at home, but when you are out in public, that’s a different matter.”  No!  It’s not.  What does that tell the child?  That you have to pretend to be something you are not so others will not laugh at you and like you?  Talk about starting your child off with a complex!  And it tells your child that you don’t support them and that they can not come to you with their true feelings and issues.

I know how hard it is to watch your child being bullied.  I know how hard it is to see them come home in tears and refuse to want to go to school.  This book is such an inspiration to parents who’s children are being bullied.  It’s an inspiration to kids who just want to be themselves!  It’s such a great tool for the school to use to show the individuality we each have and should be shared and celebrated instead of bullied and put down!

I applaud Cheryl and her family for being such great parents.  And I applaud the school their child goes to for supporting this little boy in his individuality and creativity!

Please visit http://www.myprincessboy.com to learn more about this amazing book and the family behind it.  There is also an amazing interview with Cheryl and her son on YouTube that you can check out!

So I leave you with this question:  How do you support the children in your life in their individuality?  What do YOU do when you see a little boy in the store dressed up like a princess or a little girl in the store who is dressed like a boy?  Or let’s take it a step further…what do YOU do when you see ADULTS who dress like the other gender?  Be honest.  What do you think (even to yourself where no one else can hear you)?  Just some food for thought!

Blessings!