Scars

Scars

Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother, in the house, was looking out the window, saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could. Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator. Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His

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A Child’s Angel

A Child’s Angel

Once upon a time, there was a child ready to be born. So one day he asked God: They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless? Among the many angels, I chose one for you. She will be waiting for you and will take care of you. But tell me, here in Heaven, I don’t do anything else but sing and smile, that’s enough for me to be happy. Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you every day. And you will feel your angel’s love and be happy. And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me, if I don’t know the language that men talk? Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear, and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak. And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you? Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray. I’ve heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me? Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life. But I will always be sad

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Our Own Way

Our Own Way

Currently, we have our seven-year-old grandson visiting us. Julian is delightful and thoroughly enjoyable to be around, when he is getting his way. One day this past summer, as we were on our way to the swimming pool, I stopped to indulge his request for an ice cream cone. He decided he wanted a “Big Blast.” He was all smiles as he devoured the horrid-looking blue drink with whipped cream topping. Our next stop was the video store. When we finally found one he had not seen, I checked it out and was on my way out the door, when I noticed that Julian was not behind me. He had discovered a Nintendo game. By the time we finally left the store, he’d talked me into letting him play for about 30 minutes. Then I had to make a quick stop at a nearby department store for the pair of jeans I’d promised him. By the time we came out of the department store–without the jeans (he had now decided he wanted a type of jeans the store did not carry)–it was 4:40 pm. “Julian,” I said, “we are going to have to wait until tomorrow to go swimming. It is too late to swim today.” He folded his arms abruptly across his chest, stuck out his bottom lip and

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The Winner

The Winner

I was watching some little kids play soccer. These kids were only five or six years old, but they were playing a real game – a serious game – two teams, complete with coaches, uniforms, and parents. I didn’t know any of them, so I was able to enjoy the game without the distraction of being anxious about winning or losing – I wished the parents and coaches could have done the same. The teams were pretty evenly matched. I will just call them Team One and Team Two. Nobody scored in the first period. The kids were hilarious. They were clumsy and terribly inefficient. They fell over their own feet, they stumbled over the ball, they kicked at the ball and missed it but they didn’t seem to care. They were having fun. In the second quarter, the Team One coach pulled out what must have been his first team and put in the scrubs, except for his best player who now guarded the goal. The game took a dramatic turn. I guess winning is important even when you’re five years old — because the Team Two coach left his best players in, and the Team One scrubs were no match for them. Team Two swarmed around the little guy who was now the Team One goalie. He was

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The Seed

The Seed

In the Far East the emperor was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided to do something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.” The children were shocked, but the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – one very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor.” One boy, named Ling, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it, carefully. Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept

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Love Notes

Love Notes

A mother named Antoinette Kuritz shared this idea of hers and we sure can pick this up and apply it to our own kids. Antoinette says: From the time each of my children started school, I packed their lunches. And in each lunch I packed, I included a note. Often written on a napkin, the note might be a thank you for a special moment, a reminder of something we were happily anticipating, or a bit of encouragement for an upcoming test or sporting event. In early grade school, they loved their notes. They commented on them after school, and when I went back to teaching, they even put notes in my lunches. But as kids grow older, they become self-conscious, and by the time he reached high school, my older son, Marc, informed me he no longer needed my daily missives. Informing him that they had been written as much for me as for him, and that he no longer needed to read them, but I still needed to write them, I continued the tradition until the day he graduated. Six years after high school graduation, Marc called and asked if he could move home for a couple of months. He had spent those years well, graduating Phi Beta Kappa magna cum laude from college, completing two congressional internships

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