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The Giving Tree- A Lesson in Gratitude

By Rachel Steinberg

(Reading of “The Giving Tree”)

This bright green book has been on my own book shelf for as long as I can remember. It is a story that I have read over and over again because of its simple message, that of gratitude. 

“The Giving Tree” teaches us about the value of giving. The story encourages us to think about the people who give to us and who we should be thankful to. It also reminds us that someone may not know that you are thankful unless you tell them. In our busy lives outside of the camp “bubble” we don’t always find the time to stop and share our gratitude. And, that’s what makes this place all the more special. It’s the intention to be present, to act with our hearts, and to show gratitude – each and every day. 

Gratitude is being mindful, being aware, of the good things that happen to you, no matter how small.  

At Camp Harlam, we are all on the path to being our best selves. It’s a process, a journey, and camp gives us the opportunity to slow down, to look around, to think and to question. 

Did someone give something to you today – maybe their time, a push to try something new or even a smile?
Did you say thank you for the things you were given today?
Do you always say thank you when someone gives you something?
How does it feel when someone says thank you to you?
Is saying thank you always enough?
What else can you do to show someone you appreciate the things they do for you?

In our tradition, the first words we say each morning – Modeh Ani – I thank you – mean that we begin each day by giving thanks. When I am with all of you in the amphitheater for S’morning and do my Modeh Ani stretches, I am incredibly grateful for the warmth of the sun, the sparkle on the lake, and the spirit of this community. 

As we enter Shabbat, I hope like the boy in the story that you can find a quiet place to sit and rest, to be happy, and to show your gratitude. 

Shabbat Shalom. 

Rachel Steinberg is an Assistant Director at Camp Harlam. It is her 7th summer at Harlam. She lives in Maple Glen with her Husband and two adorable campers! 

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