Friday, May 12, 2017

MAY THE FORCE BE GENEROUS...








One of the most important lessons small children learn is how to share. 

Share their toys.

Share a parent's love.

Share time on the Xbox.

But being GENEROUS with our time, emotions, or things isn't always easy. Maybe you don't want to let the kid next door play with your stuff. Maybe finding out you're going to be a big brother or a big sister has you wondering if your parents are still going to love you as much as the new baby. And maybe you just want to have a few more minutes to beat the game.

Sharing doesn't have to mean giving up everything. Being GENEROUS with your toys just might give you a chance to make a new friend.

Learning how to be a Big Brother or a Big Sister might give you a chance to show your parents how grown up you've become.

And having to wait to catch the bad guy on a video game just might teach you how to have a little patience.

Take a few minutes to read this week's story about two angry brothers who didn't know how to be GENEROUS with each other, until it was almost too late to learn.
 
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TWO ANGRY BROTHERS

Once there were two brothers who were great friends and always played together. However, one day they had a huge argument about one of their toys. In the end, they decided that from then on they would only be allowed to play with their own individual toys.

They had so many toys and things that they agreed to spend the next day sorting out which toy belonged to whom. So the next day each brother got to work, making a pile of his own things. When they had finished doing the big toys it was time to sort the little stuff. However, they had already taken so long that it was time for bed, so they left the small toys for the next day. The same thing happened the next day, because they had started dividing up parts of the house.

Day after day it was the same story. They were spending their whole time deciding what, among all kinds of things, belonged to either one of them.

Anything would set them off: seeing an animal, a tree, or even a stone. In the end, they had accumulated two complete mountains of stuff which had to be kept out in front of the house.

As the years passed, nothing changed: every morning they would meet up to argue about which things belonged to whom. They were getting older, and everyone now knew them as "the grumpy old men". No one had ever seen them smile.

That was, until one morning they went out and found that their two mountains of stuff had been totally mixed up together. Someone had been there, mixing their things up! After all that time and effort they had spent to separate everything!

Furious, the brothers tried to find who had done it. Soon they found a pair of children playing on the other side of the mountains of stuff. They were happily playing together, picking everything up, careless of whether they were mixing it all together. They looked really happy, enjoying themselves to the max.

Seeing the children so happy, the two grumpy old brothers realized how foolish they had been for so many years. They had given up playing with anything, instead spending their whole lives arguing over what was theirs to play with. How sad they felt, for spending their lives in anger. At the same time, though, they were happy to have finally realized their foolishness.

They spent that day, and the rest of their days, playing together with those two children, mixing everything up, and sharing it all. People even stopped calling them the grumpy old men. Now people called them the 'Big Kids'.

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When you think about it, wouldn't you want to be known as the Big Kid too?



Friday, May 5, 2017

WORDS THAT HURT OR HEAL...







You can probably remember a time when someone did or said something that hurt your feelings and before you knew it, harsh words were thrown at them or even worse.


You really didn't mean what you said.


And now your friend won't talk to you.


SELF-CONTROL is something children (and some adults) have a hard time not only understanding what it means, but also how to maintain it when LIFE frustrates them. The story below is about one young boy and the scars that can be left behind when we choose to lose our SELF-CONTROL...



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THE FENCE


There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence.


The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pulls out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.


The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.”


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Writers aren't the only people with power over words. What we say can cut just as deeply as a knife and the hurt feelings left behind can take a life time to heal. 


The next time someone in your life accidentally does something that hurts your feelings, just stop and think...


HOH?


Hurt.


Or.


Heal.


The choice is yours. You can either exercise SELF-CONTROL and rein in your temper, or you can spend time looking at the scars your words may have caused...




Friday, April 21, 2017

HAVING COURAGE TAKES TIME...





Wizard, Gandalf, Lego, Magic, Sorcerer


I think most children grow up being scared of something. 

The dark.

Clowns.

Heights.

Spiders.

It doesn't matter what the thing is that scares you...fear is fear and it can hold you back from doing or seeing some pretty cool things.

Check out this story about how some forest creatures learned to have a little COURAGE...
 
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DARK WIZARD, SPARK WIZARD…COURAGE

Whenever there was a storm, the animals of the Enchanted Forest ran, frightened, to hide, fearful of the bolts of lightning and the terrifying thunder. However, one day the storm came on so quickly that almost no one had the time to reach their hideout and, just when they were most frightened, some of the animals saw a tiny little light appear from out of the trees, coming from a spot where a bolt of lightning had just hit.

The little light was jumping and joyfully and excitedly crying out. All the animals watching ran over to see who this mad being could be, a being would could be happy in the middle of a storm.

And so it was that they met the very first of the Spark Wizards, which were tiny little beings that shone intensely all over, as if they had somehow managed to swallow a star. Flint, as this Spark Wizard was known, turned out to be very nice and very charming, and when they asked him how he could be so joyful in the middle of such a ferocious storm, he replied with surprise:

-“But why wouldn’t I be happy when I’ve just escaped after two thousand years?”

He went on to explain how, thousands of years ago, the Dark Wizard had captured all the Spark Wizards and imprisoned them inside some big black clouds where he forced them to work as his slaves. It was almost impossible to escape that prison, but now and again, some of those clouds would collide, and with that impact little tufts of cloud would break off, allowing a Spark Wizard to escape. Each time one escaped it would leap out with such eagerness that its trail of light would illuminate the whole sky, and produce what we know as a lightning bolt. Not long after such an escape, the Dark Wizard would realise what had happened and would grumble furiously about it and beat the clouds in frustration. His cries were filled with anger, and this is why rolls of thunder boom so strongly around the skies.

Excited at Flint’s story, those animals were never again frightened at the storms and the thunder. Instead, when the sky began to cover with black clouds, all the animals would gather at the big rock, where they could get the best view of the storm. There they would applaud and cheer each time a little Spark Wizard managed to escape the clutches of the Dark Wizard. Even better, each time the Dark Wizard came out with one of his angry grumbles of protest, the animals would answer him with a chorus of boos and jeers.

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Sometimes the things that scare us are all in our mind. The dark might be holding the stars we can count in the nighttime sky. Clowns might be just the people to make us laugh. Heights might be how we can see the world in a different way.

And spiders?

Well, other than eating insects we might not want to have around, I know even some grown ups that still don't like spiders much, but they're still working on that COURAGE thing. One step at a time...





Friday, April 7, 2017

WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT ANYWAY?

   
 (wikimedia commons)


Do you have chores to do around the house? How about helping your teacher out at school?

When I was in elementary school, there were two very important jobs we had to perform every day. There would be one student to hold up the American flag while we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and one student to clean the chalkboard erasers on the playground trees.

Both jobs came with great responsibility and I was very proud when it became my day to either hold the flag or clean the erasers. But not everyone likes to act responsibly.

Sometimes our buddies tease us because we are helping out in the classroom instead of going outside to play. Or maybe Mom or Dad has asked us to clean up our room but we just want to get to that next level on our video game first.

Sound familiar?

Check out this week's story about a grasshopper that would rather play than to act RESPONSIBILY:

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THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
 
Once upon a time there was a Grasshopper was hopping, chirping and singing to its heart's content in a field on a hot summer's day. There was an ant staying nearby the grasshopper’s nest. They were good friends. The grasshopper was having a lot of fun playing, singing, and dancing in the sun. But the ant was hard working. It was collecting food grains and storing them in its house for the winter. 

The grasshopper did not understand why the ant was doing so much hard work and preparing for winter. He asked, “Hey,’ Ant! Why don’t you come outside and play with me?” The ant replied, “I cannot. I am storing food for the winter when there won’t be anything to eat!” The grasshopper only laughed at the ant and said, “Why are you worrying now? There is plenty of food!” and continued to play, while the ant worked hard. 

When winter came, the grasshopper did not find a single grain of food to eat. It began to starve and feel very weak. The grasshopper saw how the hardworking ant had plenty of food to eat and realized how silly it had been to not save up food for the long winter months.

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Poor grasshopper!

It's not always fun to act RESPONSIBILY, but you never know when it might come in handy to take the time to work hard first and play later! 







Friday, March 24, 2017

DON'T GET CAUGHT CRYING WOLF...

 

 

Have you every told a little white lie? You know, something that's not really true, but you either didn't want to get into trouble or you didn't want to hurt someone's feelings...

 

"No, I don't know how that vase got broken."

 

"My dog ate my homework." 

 

"I like that dress you're wearing."

 

The thing about white lies, is that over time it gets harder and harder to remember what is true and what is made up. But when you are HONEST when someone asks you a question, you don't have to wonder what story you have to remember...because there IS no story...just the truth and that's easy to remember.

 

Check out this tale about one boy who had so much fun telling little white lies, that when he really needed someone to believe his story, no one thought he was being HONEST.

 

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf

 

A shepherd boy tended his master’s sheep near a dark forest not far from the village. Soon he found life in the pasture very dull. All he could do to amuse himself was to talk to his dog or play on his shepherd’s pipe.

One day as he sat watching the sheep and the quiet forest, and thinking what he would do should he see a wolf, he thought of a plan to amuse himself.

His master had told him to call for help should a wolf attack the flock, and the villagers would drive it away. So now, though he had not seen anything that even looked like a wolf, he ran toward the village shouting at the top of his voice, “Wolf! Wolf!”

As he expected, the villagers who heard the cry dropped their work and ran in great excitement to the pasture. But when they got there they found the boy doubled up with laughter at the trick he had played on them.

A few days later the shepherd boy again shouted, “Wolf! Wolf!” Again the villagers ran to help him, only to be laughed at again.

Then one evening as the sun was setting behind the forest and the shadows were creeping out over the pasture, a wolf really did spring from the underbrush and attack the sheep.

In terror the boy ran toward the village shouting “Wolf! Wolf!” But though the villagers heard the cry, they did not run to help him as they had before. “He cannot fool us again,” they said.

The wolf killed a great many of the boy’s sheep and then slipped away into the forest.


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There's a saying, "HONESTY is the best policy." It doesn't mean you won't get into trouble if the truth is that you're cheating on your history test. It also doesn't mean your parents won't be disappointed in you when they discover you haven't been HONEST with them. But it WILL make life easier for everyone to know what's true and what's not. And MUCH easier to keep you safe from the wolves out there...




 
 
 

Friday, March 17, 2017

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE




Becoming a Black Belt in martial arts takes time. If it were easy, a new student would be handed their black belt the moment they walked into the building.  

But receiving your black belt isn't the only difficult thing in life. There are other challenging things like...

Learning to ride a bike.

Flying a kite.

Passing a spelling test.

The tenet of PERSEVERANCE means never giving up. No matter what. Sometimes you fall down, but you always get back up and keep going. 

Even when it's hard.

Even when you look around and see other people might be stronger or even faster than you. The tortoise in this story knew he wasn't as fast as Hare, but it didn't matter because he had a secret weapon that would help him when he needed it the most...

 

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The Tortoise and The Hare

 

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch. 

Hare ran down the road for a while and then paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, "How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?" 

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, "There is plenty of time to relax." 

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line. 

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, waking up sleeping Hare. 

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line. 

After that, Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!" 


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There will be times when you have to work really hard to achieve a goal.

Don't ever give up.

You've got what it takes to PERSEVERE and win the race!




  sponsored by the KICKS Kids Club




Friday, March 10, 2017

WHO'S RESPONSIBLE FOR BEING RESPONSIBLE?





 (wikimedia commons)


If you get angry with your little sister because she wants to play with one of your toys and you push her away, causing her to bump into a table and break a flower vase, who is responsible for the damage? Is is your little sister because she bumped into the table? Or is it you because you lost control and pushed her out of anger?

Sometimes taking responsibility for your actions can be hard. Nobody wants to get in trouble, but is it fair to blame others for what YOU started by choosing the wrong behavior to resolve an issue?

Check out this story about Lemon...a clown that doesn't think there will be any consequences for choosing to not take care of his things. It's all about...

RESPONSIBILITY

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THE CARELESS CLOWN


Once there was a clown named Lemon. 

He was a lot of fun, but also very careless. Whenever he did anything, he almost always ended up tearing his jacket, getting a hole in his sock, or ripping the knee of his trousers. Everyone said he should take more care of his things, but Lemon though that would be really boring.

Soon, the most important day in Lemon's life arrived. 

Everyone in town prepared a party for him, in celebration of Lemon's many years of service in making the citizens chuckle. On that day he wouldn't have to wear his colorful clown suit. He would be able to dress like anyone else, and everyone was sure to comment on how nice he looked in his suit.

However, the night before, he looked in his closet, and found there wasn't a single suit in good condition. They were all ripped and torn, Lemon couldn't possibly go to the party dressed in those. All that was fit for him to wear was his clown clothes. 

On the day of the party Lemon arrived, dressed like a clown, and everyone laughed as they always had, but Lemon was not happy. He had dreamed of being, just for one day in the year, the hero of the show, and not just the clown. Oh, how he wished he had listened to his friends and taken better care of his things!
 
Very early the next day, Lemon decided to start taking better care of his suits. Eagerly he replaces all the torn, worn-out clothes with clean, new ones. Soon all the people of the village was complimenting Lemon on how well he looked dressed in his new clothes. And that made Lemon very happy because now, he was more than just a clown in everyone's eyes.

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Take a moment to think about your chores at home. Are you in charge of keeping your room clean? Do your parents expect you to help out around the house and look after the family pet?

How about at school? How does the teacher know if you understand the lessons if you don't turn in your homework? And do you walk quietly in a straight line to the cafeteria or do you race down the hall like a wild animal?

Choosing to behave in a certain way and remembering to take good care of your things are great examples to show the people around you that you know what the word RESPONSIBILITY means. And doesn't it make you feel proud inside when you know others are proud of you as well?





  sponsored by the KICKS Kids Club