This blog is a collection of short stories which can be used to teach children aspects of social and moral education. You will also find therapeutic stories to help with life’s difficulties, for both adults and children. -Click on ‘select category’ on left of screen to find what you need, scroll down to find a suitable story, or look at the contents page (see above blue box, in blue letters) for links to every story.

If you would like me to write a story for a particular purpose (free), please ask using the comment box and if I have time I will write for you.

 

Chris sat with his back against the wall of the supermarket. His lurcher Rusty lay on a dirty folded car blanket. Last night with his mates was a time which would be hard to erase from his mind, confused as it was.  He reached back in thoughts, going over what had happened the previous night.

The weather had been atrocious. The lads were in the pub a little way up the hill from the sea. Chris noticed a message from his mum on his phone with another one below it from his mate, Darrell. He clicked on Darrell; a picture of him grinning drunkenly at him leered out.

‘You’ve been NEK NOMINATED, mate!’ read the text.

Chris showed Shane, who was sitting next to him. Shane’s eyes lit up.

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ Chris asked.

‘Darrell has named you as the next person who has to drink whatever his mates give him, in one glass.’ said Shane. ‘Are you up for it?’

‘I dunno, I suppose so,’ said Chris, a sinking feeling building in his middle. All his friends’ eyes were on him.  He did not feel like he had much choice.  They were willing him to agree.  Anything for a laugh…and would it prove that he was more of a man than them??

‘Well, we’ll have to see what you can do then!’  All the lads cheered.

Chris nodded; a rope seemed to tighten around his stomach.

The lads ambled over to the bar discussing what cruel mixture they could get Chris to drink, to down all in one go. That was the challenge. Chris heard one shout ‘ barley wine’ and another ‘Jack Daniels’, then ‘gin and pickled egg vinegar’. More shouts followed. Dejectedly he flicked back to the text message from his mother.

‘Come and get Rusty.  The house is flooding. We are going to Grandmas right now. Love you, xx’

The rope tightened around Chris again. This time it’s squeezed his chest.

He saw the pint glass coming towards him on a tray, proudly carried by Shane. This was just not the right time to be getting smashed – if ever there was a right time – which he doubted.

His friends would never believe him if he cried off, if he told them about the flood, even though they could hear the sea crashing away just down the road. They were past the point of discrimination of fact from fiction, of truth from reality.

Chris thought he would just swallow the mix and go for the sake of a quiet life. They cheered as he swallowed. He stood up ‘Right, I’m off!’

Disappointed, they watched him go out into the wind and rain.

‘Gotta  be quick!’ he said out loud,  loping across the street and down the road towards the sound of the sea, down the alley round to the back of his house. The garden was terraced. Rusty was straining at his chain beside the kennel, which was floating in a foot of water.  The dog  was perched on the rockery barking and shivering. The kitchen would have been two feet deep in water and the lounge deeper. Chris couldn’t enter the house, he just had to take the dog and go.

He was beginning to get confused ‘Get Rusty,’ he said to himself. He unhooked the dog from the kennel and picked up Rusty’s blanket. All Chris could think about was to get away from the water. His thoughts were becoming more and more confused as the alcohol began to take effect. His legs would not do what he wanted them to and the road no longer seemed to be flat. It was undulating and coming up to meet his head in an alarming way.  A car horn blasted out loudly.  Someone shouted at him ‘Hell ain’t half full yet!’

Chris found some railings and use them to pull himself up the hill towards the town centre. Rusty stayed close by his side, the chain dragging on the ground behind the two of them. The lights became a much brighter. Chris just needed to rest. He found a corner between plate-glass windows that he could sink down into. He managed to get Rusty’s blanket onto the ground and collapsed onto it. He felt Rusty’s warm body and then nothing.

The next thing he was aware of was a group of lads shouting and laughing. He opened his eyes. One of them was approaching him, his arms outstretched, offering him a sandwich and a can of Coke.

‘Here, mate,’ he said, ‘you look as if you could use something to eat. I’ve just been ‘Nek Nominated’ but I’m not going to waste my time being sick all over the place. I bought this instead to give to someone else.  Seems like a better idea. Here, you have this. I’m staying sober!’

Chris realised he had not eaten for hours and neither had Rusty. ‘Yeah cool. Thanks.’ As he shared the sandwich with his dog. Chris thought about the damage he might have caused to his body by drinking all that alcohol and the hurt that it would have caused his parents if he had been run over.

‘Nek Nomination. It’s only for idiots,’ he decided.

Questions:  (Some ideas to think about)

Where were the boys at the start of the story?

What happened that made Chris feel worried ?

What did Chris think he should prove to his friends?

What does ‘his friends were past the point of discriminating fact from fiction’ mean in the story?

How did Chris feel when he read the text from his mum?

Why were his friends disappointed when he left the pub?

What did the man mean when he shouted ‘Hell ain’t half full yet?’

What did the boy with the sandwich do?  Why?

What did Chris think about Nek Nomination when it was all over?

What would you do if someone challenged you to do something very dangerous or damaging to your body?

If people harm themselves or even die doing things like this, how will they be remembered – as brave or as a fool?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Story by Tessa Hiilman republished  in  Oct 2013 as a result of the cyclone in Indian this week Educational Stories, Stories for primary school children | Tags: , , , , ,

The Flood

In my village in India we live very close to the sea. We live in fear of tidal waves, hurricanes, cyclones and even extra high tides. If the people in my village could have found somewhere else to live, they would have. But most people are too poor to move away, so they stay and pray that the sea will not take them before their time.

When I was about ten years old, we had a terrible flood. I remember it so clearly. The weather had been bad for several days, raining heavily, turning everything into mud. Then we heard there were storms at sea. The tide was very high the night before it happened. My father said we could not risk staying at home for even one more day. He made us pack our belongings and put them into our handcart. My Mother readily agreed to go. She was afraid for our lives, the lives of her children, especially the new baby, only three months old. She felt he would be her last child and so he was especially precious to her. There were six of us children, four girls and two boys. Two of my sisters were older than I was and the others had come much later, they were twins and were about three years old.

For me it was quite exciting to pack up all our important things. We did not have very much, but my mother made sure we took our little cooking stove and a large bag of rice along with clothing and bedding and tools for working in the fields. We also took our oil lamp trying very hard not to break the glass. I wrapped my blanket carefully around it to make sure it was safe.

Many other people had the same idea as us; some had already had water in their homes from the previous night’s high tide.

The wind blew and the rain fell and we trudged along the road as soon as it was light enough to see. My father said we must walk at least eight miles to get onto higher ground before the next high tide. This was going to be difficult but father thought that even if we didn’t manage the eight miles at least we would be further inland. Maybe the land would soak up the sea behind us, so that it would not reach us, even if we were still on the low lying ground.

My elder sisters and I took it in turns to carry the twins. They were very small and could not keep up the pace. Mother carried the baby on her back and helped father to push the cart when he became tired.

After we had been walking about three hours a terrible thing happened. The wheel fell off our cart. People were streaming past us with their children, animals and all their worldly goods. Everybody’s cart was full up to the brim. There was no space for our stuff. Mother began to cry as she looked at her little cooker that she loved so much. Would she have to leave it behind?

Time was pressing on. The day was becoming hot and humid and there was still a long way to go. Mother noticed a signpost at the edge of the road. It indicated the way to the next village.

“This is a good marker,” she said, and she walked over to a rough brick house. It was open and there were signs that the inhabitants had left hurriedly, leaving little of importance behind them. Mother and Father dragged the cart into the house and draped an old sari she found lying in a corner over it to hide the contents.

“With any luck when we return we may find this house again and reclaim what is ours.” She said.

We continued our journey with no food and no water but with our lives intact. We reached the higher ground two hours before the next high tide and storm. The land was devastated. Thousands of houses were washed away and hundreds of lives were lost. Those too old or too ill to make the journey were drowned. Our family was still together, wet, homeless but together. After five days the local people who had fed us with bowls of rice said we must return to our homelands. There was no room for us in their villages. The water had subsided, so return we did. It was difficult to recognise the route we had taken. Dead animals lay strewn everywhere and every so often there was a human corpse. I noticed that several of the dead were people who had a leg or a foot missing, they had not been able to walk fast or far enough.

Father found an old wheel abandoned in the road and was hoping to be able to fix it on to the cart, should we ever find our cart again. My mother suddenly became excited as she saw in the distance the sign near the brick house where our belongings had been left.

.

Mother and I ran towards the house. There were some people standing round the door looking tired and dirty. Mother approached them cautiously. She spoke to a man leaning in the doorway. She explained how the cart had broken and she had left it in the hut. She wondered if it was still there.

“Ah, Madam, “ replied the tired looking man, “When we returned home all we found was mud, mud, mud. We have not started to clear it away yet. It seems to have half filled our house. Please look for yourself.”

Mother looked inside the hut. To her joy she found the leg of the cooking stove poking out through a piece of filthy slime.

“Yes, yes, “ she exclaimed, “It’s there! May we take it?”

“Indeed, Madam, since it is yours. Please feel free to release it from its tomb.”

“But what about you? You seem to have nothing left in your house. Are you sure you don’t want to keep it? That was the risk we took in leaving it here.”

“Madam, I have very little, and neither, I perceive, do you; but what is yours, is yours. Please take it. The Lord will provide for us, unless it is his will that we also should die.”

With that the man began to scrape away at the mud. Beneath our cart lay a pile of beautiful cooking pots.

 

flood-pic

“And these, madam, are these yours too?”

“No,” said Mother, “I have never seen these, you must keep them and use them for yourself.”

“I will indeed, until their rightful owner returns, I will consider them to be my own.”

He smiled a big smile and his wife looked in wonder at the pots.

On returning to our village we cleared away the mud and resumed our lives. That was ten years ago. I have always remembered that man’s understanding of what is mine is mine, what is yours is yours. It is a good way to look at property, and then one will never be tempted to steal it.

QUESTIONS: Support answers to questions 2 to 7 with evidence from the text.
1. What name would you give this story?
2. Why was the village unsafe?
3. Why did the people remain living there?
4. What were the family’s most important possessions?
5. How do you know the narrator had a positive attitude to life?
6. What help did they receive from the villagers on the higher ground?
7. What was the old man’s attitude who owned the house?
8. How did you feel when you heard the story?
9. Did it remind you of anything in your own life?

A Story from Alan about Rights and Responsibilities

Helping on the farm

When I was a lad I was a bit like you. I didn’t want to be reading and writing. I liked to be outdoors.

My mum and dad had seven children, some of us were twins. I had a twin sister.

We lived on a farm. My dad had sheep, pigs and cows. My mum had chickens and ducks.

I loved helping dad on the farm. Dad used to give us jobs to do. I had to feed the pigs, greedy beggars they were! We fed them on Tottenham pudding. It came in big bins. It was the waste food from schools and hotels all boiled up together. I remember finding a teaspoon in it one day. My brothers all had jobs too. Dad said it was their responsibility to help him on the farm. Without their help he could not have done all the work he said.

The girls helped mum with the cooking and cleaning and the chickens. That was their responsibility.

One day my twin sister said she didn’t want to do the chickens. She said they were too noisy. Mum was cross.

“All right, if you don’t want to do the chickens, then you have no right to be eating their eggs.”

“I don’t care!” said my sister.

That day my mother made a lovely big sponge cake with cream and jam. My sister held out her plate for a piece.

“Oh, there’s none for you. You don’t eat eggs. Now do you?”

My sister went red and ran out of the room in tears. That night, just before dark, she said

“Mum I’m just going to put the chickens to bed. Okay?”

Mum smiled. “I think we’ve got some cake left,” she said.

Questions

What responsibilities did the boys in the family have?

What responsibilities did the girls in the family have?

Can you tell us about any responsibilities that you have?

Alan’s mum said his sister had no right to eat eggs if she didn’t help with the chickens,

That was a right that was agreed in the family.  Can you think of any rights like that? 

There are also human rights – like everyone has a right to food, shelter and clean water. Can you think of any more rights that you think everyone should have?

What rights do we have at college?

What responsibilities do we have at college?

Let me tell you about a young man , we will call him Paul. He had no interest in girls when at school. His friends were full of talk of girls and women. He didn’t see the point. He had his own interests. He didn’t want to get tied up with a girl and live to regret it. He didn’t want to find a wrong girl and end up in all sorts of trouble. He didn’t want a girl to trap him into a relationship by allowing herself to become pregnant. He thought that girls could be very devious, he was content with his life without a girl.

The years went by, something seemed to be missing in Paul’s. life he felt somewhat purposeless and rather lonely. Gradually one by one, his friends got married and he didn’t see them very often, they only seemed to have time for other married couples. They lost interest in going out and drinking and chatting. They were family men now.  He became rather a lonely boy. He still had his family, but there was a hole in his life. He began to think that what he needed was a girl, a young woman  to spend his time with, to talk to and laugh and live with. He began to think hard about what she should be like: she should look like this and she should think like that and she should been this age and she should have these feelings. He painted a picture of the perfect girl for himself. But he never saw her ; all the girls he met were different from what he wanted and they frightened him.  He was a nice looking lad and girls seemed to want to draw him in to their lives but he was afraid. He was also afraid of rejection. He wanted to be the one to do the rejecting so the safest way was not to ask – never to put himself in a position where he would be rejected. It would be too embarrassing ; his family would be upset. They would have built up their hopes for him and then he would disappoint them.  Then there was the fear that if he did find a girl that he liked, perhaps his family would not like her, and there would be tension and arguments.  Much simpler not to get involved. He lived with his family. He saw them everyday. They were aware of everything he did,  gently encouraging or discouraging this or that.  He felt supported by them, but at the same time, he felt he was letting them hold him back because of his fears.

The other thought that always plagued Paul was that he felt he should know where life was taking him and where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do and to be, before involving anyone else in his life, and the trouble was, he hadn’t reached that point yet. He didn’t think a girl would be interested in a young man who didn’t know what his own future was going to be. The result of all these thoughts was that he had had no practice in having girlfriends. He hadn’t been able to learn from mistakes because he hadn’t taken the risk to make any mistakes. One part of him had been thinking that everything would resolve itself suddenly a career would appear, he would ‘find himself a life path’ and then the perfect girl would come along and would instantly fall in love and they would be made for each other. Another part of him did realise that life is just not like that. We have to keep searching for more fulfilling work , for a better way of living and we have to practice and be willing to fail in relationships. He knew that if he treated people with respect and care, looking after himself and the other person, if the relationship failed it would not be a disaster. However, the thought of going to expense and effort on practising and not actually having a real girl friend or risking losing one put him off even beginning to try.

Paul decided that this was no good. He would not be so fussy, he would not look for perfection, but he would be open to communication. He would be willing to experiment with relationship. This decision coincided with the knowledge that soon he would have his own place where he would have the privacy to make mistakes and not feel that he would be judged. He began to take more interest in his appearance,  to keep himself well groomed, clean and tidy. He asked his mother to show him how to cook some of his favourite meals and to teach him all the basic processes in cooking. He was a very willing student , having resisted in the past. His family recognised his efforts and appreciated the occasions when he cooked meals for them. They praised his efforts instead of teasing him or belittling him as once they might have done.  He began to pay attention to the care of his own clothes and to the organisation of his own room. He looked on it is a practice for when he would be completely without his family, unless he chose to see them. This process took several weeks and months. Gradually he built his confidence and was ready to move when the time came. He had taken several girls out for a drink without thinking that it was all-important that he should be accepted by them, or that they had to be perfect. He had decided to relax and not worry about what they were thinking of him. After all, nothing matters that much.

I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story, but I can say that this young man was much happier in his life and in his willingness to allow himself to fail. He found success slowly but surely .  He built himself a life. Learn what you can from this young man, as indeed he was willing to learn.

 

I was asking about the advisability of ethical investment.  I meditated and this is what came to me:

Advice about ethical investment.

A benign looking man in a black suit, pinstripe waistcoat and pince nez speaks:

Times are troubled, my dear, mind you, they always have been somewhere in the world, usually in many places at once. I worked in the city of London a number of years ago. City gents would arrive at their place of work wearing top hat and tails, if they felt they were of some importance.

There were fewer financial advisers in those days and fewer people with money. Current philosophy is that everyone is supposed to be financially solvent. There is a common thought that money breeds money, but of course prudence will enable that situation to occur, but profligacy will not.

Your dilemma is that you want to avoid subsidising unpleasant, dishonest, and disagreeable companies who make their money on the backs of unfortunate people who are killed, abused or otherwise mistreated as the result of the activities of those companies. I believe this is a wise and proper decision. After all, if nobody supported and sponsored them they would be unable to expand and would soon dwindle for lack of financial backing. It is a pity that more investors do not make this vital connection, or do not wish to make it.

In my day we had an organisation which helped to export people to parts of the world where they were needed as cheap labour- indeed as slaves. Their masters made their fortunes out of these poor innocents who had been either duped, doped or dragged away from their homes. It was a scandalous business that continued for many years because people were willing to turn a blind eye to it. It continues today to a certain extent in a hidden underclass black market of lives. It is a shame and disgrace on those who perpetuate it. They will be obliged to learn from their mistakes in ways which are not at all obvious to those observing from a distance, but learn they will.

Governments know that arms dealing is big business and brings in large amounts of revenue. They are willing to encourage warmongering, as long as it is not ‘at home’ in order to make money from arms sales.  If no tanks and weapons were available, how could there be wars?

When people can open their hearts and share in warm, loving relationships there will be no market for pornography.  Only those embittered by bad experience and faulty child-rearing will consider pornography as appropriate in their lives.  Sadly, there are huge numbers of people who come into this category.  Only love, compassion and good teaching and parenting will eliminate this modern scourge which demeans men and belittles and abuses women and children.

The mistaken belief that smoking was good for one led to almost every man in the United Kingdom becoming a smoker.  It is now well understood that smoking seriously injures the health.  However, many are willing to turn their back on this knowledge and to manufacture and sell this damaging drug.  Why invest in something which kills so many people in unspeakable ways?

So choose well. Even if you lose money in the short term, the world will be the richer in the long term; richer in spirit, in compassion, in love and in happiness.  Surely well worth investing in.

My name is Sasha. I have is a story to tell you. I want to warn you about something that is happening in our country which is having a very bad effect on many young girls, and some boys. It’s happening to girls of all sorts of different backgrounds. My grandparents came from Bangladesh. My parents were brought up in the UK. There was quite a lot of tension in my family as we were growing up. My grandparents had a lot of influence and their plan was that I would marry a Bangladeshi boy. My parents were not so sure about that. I certainly didn’t want to marry someone I had never met. When I was 13 I was taken to Bangladesh by my grandparents. I met a man who was 38. They told me that he would come over to the UK and marry me when I was 16. He seemed like an old man to me. He had teeth missing and he didn’t speak English. I thought it would be terrible being married to him.

When I came back to the UK I told my friends about this old man. I said I would never marry him and I told my parents that. We started to argue. They said that my grandparents only wanted the best for me. I said they just wanted to get their friend’s son a UK passport, which he would have if he married me. I became very annoyed and upset. I needed to find a way of avoiding this marriage.

I had several girlfriends at school. One of them invited me to a sleep over at her house. I think my parents were quite relieved to let me go because we had been arguing so much. My friends had brothers. Sometimes we had parties with just a few people.  We put on some music and danced. It was great fun. I felt as if there was hope for me and my future. The world did not consist of only that man from Bangladesh. After a few weeks my grandparents heard that I had been going out and seeing boys. They were very angry. They imprisoned me in my room. I could not bear it. They said they were going to take me over to Bangladesh and marry me to the man because I didn’t have to be 16 to get married over there.

I escaped from my house. I didn’t know where to go. If I went to my friends house my parents would just bring me home.  I went to the city centre, where the lights were bright.  I felt better there.  I knew a boy called Mark who worked in a club.  I was hoping to see him.  I stood outside the Tiger club and a handsome young man came out.  He had a nice smile.  I thought he might know the boy. He told me he did and that we could go inside and have a drink and wait for Mark.  He asked me all sorts of questions and because I was lonely and unhappy I told him about my problem.  There was no sign of Mark and the young man told me that he would show me a hostel where I could stay so that I didn’t have to go home. I was afraid but I was more afraid of being taken to Bangladesh, so I did go to the hostel.  It was noisy and quite dirty and people disturbed me in the night.  Women were shouting and crying. The next morning when I stepped outside, there was the young  man , Kumar, waiting for me. He asked me how I had got on and offered to buy me some breakfast.  I was so pleased to see him. He seemed to be like an old friend.  I spent the day with him, just walking around the city, seeing the sights and having a nice lunch.  He seemed to be so kind and I needed kindness.  At the end of the day he asked me if I was going back to the hostel.  He read my face.  I really didn’t want to go.

He said he shared a house with some other  young men, and that one of them was away at the moment and I could stay in his room if I wanted to. I stayed. I felt so grown up. I had my own room and I could use the kitchen. There was plenty of food. I cooked meals for Kumar.  He said I was pretty and that I would be wasted on the  Bangladeshi  man.  After a few days he said his friend Rajesh was coming back and that I would have to leave the room. I was upset, where would I go?

He said if I didn’t mind sharing his bed I could stay in his room. He had been so nice to me. I didn’t want to leave and I had nowhere else to go.  That was my first experience of sex.  There was no love in it, it just seemed rather strange and not enjoyable, but not horrible. After a few nights he told me Rajesh wanted to sleep with me.  I was shocked. He laughed. He told me I wasn’t his wife. He said if I wanted to stay  I would have to sleep with Rajesh. I had no choice.  Rajesh was horrible.  He didn’t care about me at all. When he had finished with me he made me sleep on the floor. That was the beginning of a terrible time.  Every day a different man came for me.  I had to stay in the house and cook and do whatever the men wanted.  Some of them were dirty, some were rough and I saw them paying Rajesh.  They never talked to me as a person, they just used me. 

One day when is everyone was out  I escaped through the bathroom window. I had no shoes. They had taken them away to prevent me from trying to escape.  I had decided to go home. I thought that if my parents loved me they would see how I had suffered and they would leave me alone and not make me marry. I was right. They were very upset and said that my grandparents were wrong and they would never let them take me away.  I had a lucky escape really, although it was a terrible experience. Fortunately, I didn’t become pregnant and didn’t pick up a dreadful disease. The men didn’t beat me up and they didn’t come looking for me.  I went back to school to finish my education and now I have joined a charity which helps girls to get out of situations of the sort that I was in.

Sexual exploitation of girls and sometimes boys is a cruel and wicked thing and we should work hard to prevent it from happening.

Questions

Why did Sasha want to leave home?

What is ‘forced marriage’? It is illegal in the UK.  Girls can get help. Ask your teacher or social worker about this.

Why did Sasha want to trust Kumar?

What did Kumar do to get Sasha to trust him?

What did Kumar want from Sasha?

Have you heard about this sort of thing before?  What else could have happened to Sasha?

Could she have gone to the police?

Who could have helped Sasha?

Brett and the Meercats

When I was a child I lived in Africa . We didn’t have a back garden. We just had the bush.  I was fascinated by all the animals running around, just outside my house. Of course you couldn’t see them all at once. Sometimes we could hear the lions roaring; sometimes the elephants would pass by, these were such large animals I kept well away from them. We didn’t see them very often. I was more used to the smaller animals. We had a family of meerkats who lived not very far away from my house. I used to spend a lot of time watching them.  They became quite used to me.  I would take a little blanket all folded up neatly and walk very quietly to the meerkat tunnels, I would park myself just a few yards away from them slightly hidden behind a bush. I got a very good view of them. They knew I was there, but I never harmed them, so they didn’t bother about me.

I could always tell which meerkat was the boss. At first I didn’t know whether it was a male or a female meerkat. It was just a meerkat. I didn’t know if it was a mum or a dad. Then one day I noticed that the boss meerkat was looking rather heavy and round and then she disappeared. It wondered if she’d been killed. A number of days later she reappeared. She looked different. She wasn’t so fat but I could see that underneath her she had a milky udder, that’s what my mother called it, then I knew that she was a she, and that she had had babies and these babies were suckling her , hidden away under the ground. I don’t know why but I called her Tam Tam, I think I might have given her the name before I knew she was a girl. I wondered how long it was going to be before I saw her babies coming out into the daylight. I took my blanket out every day to make sure I wouldn’t miss them. I could go early in the morning and in the afternoon when it was cooler. Meerkats didn’t come out in the middle of the day,  it was too hot for them and too hot for me.

I don’t remember how many days I had to wait before the first signs of baby meerkats appeared. I think I might have watched them during their first excursion into the world. I remember seeing little noses peeping out sniffing the air and  popping back in again, very shyly.

meerkat babies

Finally Tam Tam came out of the burrow and called to them and they came one by one, sniffing  and blinking  their eyes, not used to strong light having lived in the tunnel for quite a long time. I was so excited and wanted to tell my friends, but something stopped me. I knew that some people could be very cruel to wild animals. Some people looked on them as pests. They would say all sorts of nasty things about them and then they would go and dig them out, destroying their burrows. They would say things like ‘ the cattle put their feet in the holes they might break their legs’. Well, I didn’t think cattle were that stupid.  I’ve watched our cattle carefully stepping round the burrows.  None of them ever hurt their legs. At the first sign of cattle the meerkats would disappear down their holes. The cows weren’t very interested in them, but they would nibble at the grass around the tunnels before moving on.

One day, a cousin came to stay. I hadn’t met him before, he was older than me and seemed to be a nice boy. He said that life in the bush was boring and I wanted to show him that it certainly wasn’t. I decided to take the risk of showing him the meerkats. I gave him a blanket and told him to walk very quietly. We waited patiently by the tunnels. The meerkats wouldn’t come out. I had told him about the babies and how they would all sit up on their hind legs in a row and look about them. Often their heads would all turn at the same time, it was almost like a dance and I found it very comical. I had told my cousin, Brett about other funny things that they used to do. He really wanted to see them, but I think he was making too much noise. He was laughing and joking and although I kept saying ‘Shush’,I was giggling a bit. The meerkats weren’t used to noise. We had frightened them. Suddenly Brett stood up and ran over to a tree with dead branches on it. He broke one off .

‘I’ll get them out of there!’  he said.

Before I could stop him he had poked the stick down the tunnel.  Luckily it was a long tunnel and probably had a bend in it, so he couldn’t reach my favourite baby animals. I was very upset. I picked up my blanket and whopped him with it.

‘You mustn’t do that, you’ll hurt them!’ I said, ‘Come away at once’.

‘I’m going to get a spade and dig ‘em out,’  he said.

He ran off towards the house. Luckily I knew all the spades were locked away. I ran to find my mother. She knew how much I loved the meerkats, I knew that she would tell Brett not to dig them out.  She did, she made him feel very ashamed of himself. But she wasn’t unkind. She knew he was a city boy who might not have been taught to respect animals.  I kept away from the meerkats then.

On Brett’s last day he asked me if we could go once more to look at the little family. He promised me he would not hurt them. Quietly we crept along the path to the meerkat tunnels. We hid behind the bush on our blankets, Brett was very quiet. After a short time, the meerkats came out one by one, they stood in a row sniffing the air and looking this way and that, their little paws hanging down over their chests. I saw a big smile spread over Brett’s face. He didn’t move a muscle. The meerkats played some fighting games. Finally, Brett couldn’t resist it. He just had to wave at them.  All at once they disappeared into the tunnel. We crept away.

‘Why did you do that, Brett?’ I asked.

‘I just wanted to show them I meant no harm.’ he said.

‘Ah, OK.’  What more could I say? It looked like he had learnt his lesson!

Questions

  1.        What name would you give to the story?
  2.        Did it remind you of anything in your life?
  3.        Who showed forgiveness?
  4.        In what ways do you respect animals?
  5.        Do you know what being cruel means?
  6.        How can we be kind to animals?

Key stage 1 PHSE curriculum: Becoming aware of Feelings: selfishness and generosity, for age 6-9

http://wp.me/p9ZIh-dS

 

Fay and The Birthday Present

 

Fay was invited to her best friend’s party. Sally lived down the road at number 42 Dove Terrace. It was her birthday. Fay’s mum said “What do you think Sally would like for her birthday from you?”

 Fay said “I don’t have any money, I can’t buy Sally a present.”

 “What about the pocket money you’ve been saving in your special tin?”

 “Oh that’s for me, it’s not for other people!”

 “Oh I see. Did your friends bring you presents when they came to your party?”

“Yes but I think their mums paid for them.”

“How do you know that?”

“Oh, they must have done. They wouldn’t be spending their own money on me.”

“Oh so you’re just guessing then.”

“Well, it’s hard to save money because I always want to spend it on sweets. You don’t let me. You say I need to save up to get something really good. How can I get something really good if I’m always spending it on other people?

 “Always? How many presents have you bought for other people?”

“I haven’t bought presents for anyone.”

“Well, you’re going to learn about how nice it feels to be generous today – it’s nice to give other people presents. It shows them how much you really like them. You like Sally, don’t you?”

“Oh yes, she is my very best friend.”

“Well just think how nice it would be to go shopping and to choose something you know she would really like.”

Suddenly Fay’s eyes lit up. “Oh yes it would be good wouldn’t it? I could get her one of those special hulahoops that make a buzzy noise when they go round!”

Fay felt different – a warm feeling came over her. She felt excited for her friend because she knew she would enjoy the gift and Fay could say “I bought this for you myself,” and she would be showing Sally how much she liked her.

 Fay’s mum smiled.  “I see you got the idea about what giving presents is really for. It makes two people happy – the giver and the one who gets the presents.  People who don’t like giving presents don’t get the fun out of the giving and don’t give anyone else any fun either. That’s no way to be a friend is it?”

“But what about people who don’t have any money to spend? Are they sad because they can’t give presents?”

“No, they don’t need to be sad, because you can always think of something nice to do or to make for someone else.  As long as we aren’t selfish our friends will be happy with us, whether we are able to give them things or not.”

Fay bought a buzzing hulahoop for Sally.  She wrapped it in paper which had smiley faces all over it. The two girls spent a lot of time happily sharing the present.

 

Questions 

  1. Does this remind you of anything in your life?
  2. Do you save your pocket money?
  3. Have you ever bought presents for other people with your pocket money?
  4. Do your parents always buy presents for your friends?
  5. If you give your friend at present that you have bought to you feel any different when you are giving it to them?
  6. Can you think of a word which is used about people who only do things for themselves and never think of other people?
  7. Can you think of a word which is used about people who are happy to give their time or their money to other people?

This story is an ideal subject for children to act out in class.  They will quickly understand the points being made and will enjoy making up their own improvisations and variations.

A story about ‘Fairness’ for children of 11-14 years, (young teens) requested by ‘hint’ via my comments box. 

This story came from a Lady in the Philippines.

Wen wants a laptop

My story is about two young people, Don and Wen.  Don is a boy of 13 and his sister Wen is 12.  They live in a small block built house in the suburb of a large city in the Philippines.

Their father is a business man.  He works very hard buying and selling foods.  He buys in bulk and sells in smaller amounts to the street traders.  He has a battered van which has many colours on its body.  The bonnet is green, one door is red and another is blue.  This roof and frame of the van are yellow, which is the colour of the original vehicle.  Over the years parts have been damaged and replaced so that now it is multicoloured.  The traders know the children’s dad as Mr Multi, which is not his real name.

When they are not at school they help their father with either delivering food or breaking up the bulk containers and weighing out smaller quantities.  Don loves to help with the deliveries.  He is a strong lad and can lift and carry quite heavy loads.  Wen likes to stay at home and weigh out the food, helping her mother with this important work.

Mr Multi works well into the evenings but he does not let Don come with him after eight at night.

‘You are growing.  You need plenty of rest and sleep.  You can go home now,’ he says.

The family have a good life.  They have each other and do not go hungry.  They have a roof over their heads and a store for their bulk goods.  Their dog Dino is in charge of protecting the store from those who might want to steal the food.  He has big teeth and a fierce growl.

Mr Multi uses a notebook and pen to record his orders and deliveries.  His wife thinks that a computer would be better but he tells her that they can’t afford one, and says he doesn’t make mistakes using the old fashioned method of pen and paper. 

The children learn how to use the computer in school.  They do not have many computers but somehow the children get enough time and instruction to learn how to make files and how to use spread sheets.  For business people spread sheets are very useful for making complicated calculations.  Wen in particular likes using the computer.  She gets to be very good at it so that the teacher asks her to write up reports and to make posters to advertise activities to the rest of the school. 

One day Wen asks her father ‘Dad, I’m really good at the computer you know.  Look at this poster I made, can we buy a laptop now?  Please, please, please!  I think it would help the business.

Wen’s dad says ‘That’s a really good poster you have made, Wen, but you don’t realise how much it would cost me to have a computer.  I would have to get a printer too and an internet  connection.  As you know, we can’t even afford a land line.  I don’t see how we could afford it all.  Anyway I suspect you would spend your time on it instead of helping your mother, then where would we be?’

‘Oh Dad, it’s not fair!  Lots of kids at school have lap tops.  Well, some do.  Surely if they can afford it we can too?’

‘You have no idea what other people spend their money on.  Everyone has to make their own decisions.  Life isn’t ‘fair’ as you put it.  Everyone is different.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have a lovely grandmother and grandfather.  We are lucky and we are very happy to look after them.  We spend our money on what is important to us, if other people make different decisions that is up to them.’

‘Oh Dad, I didn’t mean we shouldn’t look after Grandma and Granddad.  I never thought of that!’

‘Of course you didn’t, Wen, you are still learning about life.  Young people have certain ideas about fairness which can be very useful, like when you are sharing things out with your friends.  But when it comes to the bigger picture life can seem very unfair.  There is no point in getting  upset about it.  Sometimes we can change things and sometimes we just can’t.  How about we weigh out that bag of rice between us now?’

Questions:

What can ‘Fairness’ mean?  Can you think of some different examples?

Does this story remind you of anything in your life?

Explore the idea of fairness within the family. 

Do you think everything could be ‘fair’.  How would that change the world?  Is it likely to happen?  How would you cope with it?

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