• Dalya Shaw

The Tin Man - Matters Of The Heart ...


As we continue our journey to see the Wizard, the next character we meet is the Tin Man… Ah, I have been looking forward to writing about him.


Like me prior to today, you may not know the story behind the Tin Man becoming tin.

He started life as a Woodsman chopping down trees in the forest of Oz. He fell in love with a munchkin lady and to prevent him marrying his sweetheart, the witch cast a spell on his axe. The axe proceeded to chop off his limbs one by one. (I am sure I never knew that story!! 😳)


Each time the Woodsman lost a limb, the local Tinsman replaced it with a limb of tin until eventually there was nothing left of him but tin. In the process of rebuilding, the Tinsman had forgotten to include a heart and the Tin Man believed he was no longer able to love.

The heart has long been the symbolic place where love resides, “I love you with all my heart…” yet the Tin Man proves that love resides in those who are ‘willing’ to love and deliberately love every day, despite the risks.

I wondered as I read this how often in life our ‘axe’ also slips causing us pain and heartache. As we rebuild ourselves, we are changed and although seemingly repaired, we can act as if we don’t have a heart and are incapable of love. As time goes by it becomes easier to avoid love altogether and therefore harder to accept being loved. We can create a kind of ‘tin’ armour or defence mechanism, to avoid being vulnerable and therefore lowering the risk of getting hurt again. But in doing this, are we denying ourselves one of the most powerful and wonderful experiences that exists to us as human beings? And are we ignoring a fundamental part of who we really are?


Oh, I get it! There is something terrifying about the ‘out of control’ feeling that comes with a broken heart. There is something suffocating that comes from losing a loved one. And there is something tempting about trying to protect ourselves from ever feeling that way (again). But, there is also something so much more powerful in the act of loving that cannot be felt in any other way.


In the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, we understand that we can only become real by loving and making sacrifices for others. It doesn’t say ‘…depending on how they respond to us…’

Just as the Scarecrow was the wisest of the companions, the Tin Man was the most tender and emotional. Like the Scarecrow, he believes he ‘lacks’ something – a heart, and attributes this to not being able to love. And like the Scarecrow, the power to love is inside him the whole time.


What else do we believe about ourselves that prevents us from having amazing lives, doing great things and becoming the best version of ourselves we can possibly be? I believe we already have everything we need inside us. Part of our human experience is to discover as much of ourselves as possible.


So, what does this mean? I guess that depends on what you want it to mean. Meaning is contained in people and not in words.


From a very young age Ben was loving. From sharing his Tiny Teddy biscuits with other toddlers all the way through to face timing a friend to make sure she got home okay. I later discovered, at the time, he had not yet met this friend in person. What made Ben special was not in his words but in his actions and who he was. He genuinely cared for people and that is what so many of us remember him for today. It is no wonder that I still hear so often, “I love(d) him SO much”. I get it! I do too! 😊


When he got out of the car that day and he gave me a hug as always, he said “Love you Mum” and despite them being quick words, I know that he meant every one of them. And when I said “Love you too buddy” he knew I meant it too.


Love is a feeling not a word

Love is something we can give freely if we choose to. And if we all did this and acted in a loving way towards each other and across the globe, what kind of a world could we be living in then?


As always … Much Love

Dalya xx 💙

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Dalya Shaw

Speaking Services | Writing Services

e: dalya@dalyashaw.com

Brisbane, Australia

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