The Power of Words: A Review of ‘Seeds and Trees’


The babble of some people is like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise is healing. – Proverbs 12:18

Reading/Interest Level

Grades 1-6 [Ages 6-12]

Review and Comments

Seeds of words spoken, some green and others black, are given to a young prince every day.  The green seeds are gentle while the black seeds contain only hostility and misery. The prince accepts both seeds and plants them all.  As the prince watches his trees grow he observes that all the trees are powerful but very different.  The green trees are life giving.  The black trees create such darkness that the green trees eventually suffer and become weakened right down to their roots.

The prince meets an extraordinary, sincere friend who only gives him green seeds.  She is wise and very brave in the face of the darkness of the forest.  The green trees seem to “come alive” when she is near, but the dark trees seem to amplify their negativity.  The prince’s new friend has a challenging solution for the tragedy of the weakening green trees.  He recognizes her insight and agrees to accept the challenge.  Using her old tools, she and the prince cut down one dark tree. Then, they carefully cut down more and more until not one dark tree or any fragment of a root is left.  Following his friend’s advice, the prince never plants dark seeds again.  He carefully watches over his grove of green trees and continues to plant the green seeds that produce “new life.”

The recommended age for this book (grades 1-6) is quite a wide range. Children of such different ages will certainly comprehend the story at their level, and yet the lessons will be valuable for them all.  The power of words should be taught early and never completely reach a finish line. 

Possible Concerns

There are no concerns with this book.

 Further Discussion

Art Project: Draw a large silhouette of a body on green paper.  Find words that are life giving, positive words or phrases and glue them on the silhouette [examples: good job, great idea, friend, smiles, I’m sorry, or forgive me, etc.]

Tools: The prince and his friend used old tools to uproot the dark trees and assist the damaged green trees to recover and gain strength once again. Use the list of virtues below the questions to help with questions 3-5)

  1. What was special about the old tools?
  2. What special strength do the tools have?
  3. The tools could represent virtues that are stronger than the hostility and misery the black trees produce.  What virtues do you think might have been used to combat the spirit of the black trees?
  4. Choose 5 virtues that could represent the tools.  Write why each of the five virtues is strong enough to stop the black trees.  Draw a symbol for each virtue. 
  5. What virtue(s) reflects you?  What virtue do you want to better develop?

List of Virtues

Caring [listening with compassion, helping with kindness]

Charity [a giving heart]

Commitment [caring deeply about a person]

Compassion [letting go of judgment]

Consideration [careful thought about others]

Detachment [not allowing our feelings to control us]

Dignity [honoring the worth of people]

Fairness [giving others their share]

Forgiveness

Friendliness [reaching out to others]

Generosity [giving freely]

Grace [gentleness in the way we act]

Honesty [sincere, genuine]

Honor [respect what is right]

Humanity [caring for all people]

Justice [fairness to all]

Kindness [showing compassion]

Mercy [blessing others with mercy]

Obedience [following what is right]

Perceptiveness

Prudence [wise and careful in conduct]

Respect [honoring others with dignity]

Sacrifice [making life an offering]

Sincerity [being open and genuine]

Temperance [moderation in speech]

Tolerance [open to differences]

Truthfulness [honest in all dealings]

Unity [inclusiveness]

Wisdom [making wise decisions]

Zeal [living by sense of value of life]

You can find the full list of virtues from the website “List of Virtues” .

Catholic Resources

Seven Prayers: “The Power of Words”“Scriptures we can use to help us pray for God to help us use our tongues wisely. “(There are 7 prayers  – one for each day of the week or all seven every day):

  1. Make my words and the thoughts of my heart acceptable in Your sight. [Psalm19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”]
  2. Keep me from speaking when what I say could get me in trouble. [Proverbs 21:23 “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”]
  3. Help me to be committed not to sin with my mouth. [Psalm 17:3b “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.”]
  4. Keep my words focused on praising You and pointing others to You. [Psalm 71:15 “My mouth will tell of Your righteous acts, of Your deeds of salvation all the day,”]
  5. Fill my heart with your Word so that my tongue will speak your truth in my conversations. [Luke 6:45]
  6. Help me to share your Words that bring eternal life. [John 6:68 “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”]
  7. Help me speak words that build up others.[ Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,”]

Power of Words Bible References:

  • James 3: 5-8 – In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
  • Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue; those who chose one shall eat its fruit.
  • Proverbs 6:2 – You have been snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth.
  • John 1:14 – And the Word became flesh – and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as the Father’s own Son, full of grace and truth.
  • Proverbs 16:24 – Pleasing words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and invigorating to the bones.
  • Ephesians 4:29 – No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.
  • Matthew 12: 33-37 – Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the Day of Judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak.  By your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
  • Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, those who choose one shall eat its fruit.
  • Proverbs 12:18 – The babble of some people is like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise is healing.
  • Proverbs 13:3– Those who guard their mouths preserve themselves, those who open wide their lips bring ruin.
  • Proverbs 10: 11, 13, 19, 20-21, 31-32

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