Well, the principal lesson that I learned from reading this excellent novel concerns the theme of internal growth and development. This novel charts the quest of Bud for a family and for the kind of life that he wants and yearns for. In this journey that he embarks on, Bud faces many different challenges, dead ends and opportunities, but most importantly he realises that he needs to make it happen if he is to stand any chance of finding the life he wants so desperately. It is important to focus on the way that maple trees, buds and seeds are employed at various stages throughout the novel as symbols of growth and life. Of course, the most important of these is Bud's name. Note what Bud's mother used to tell him about his name:
A bud is a flower-to-be. A flower-in-waiting. Waiting for just the right warmth and care to open up. It's a little fist of love waiting to unfold and be seen by the world. And that's you.
This story is the story of the process of Bud becoming the flower that his name promises, but above all, Bud learns that he needs to work to let this process run its course. He cannot just sit back and wait for life to happen to him; he has to get up and venture out there to seize the life he has always dreamed of having. This is the central lesson of the story for me. It is one thing to have dreams and hopes in life, but it is another thing to have the courage to get out there and make them happen.