The Fight Within- a woman discovers she has cancer. Therapeutic short story.

The Fight Within.

A requested story for a friend of HT

 

Mary couldn’t sleep. It was still dark outside, no sounds came through her closed curtains ; the world had not yet stirred. Mary’s mind was in turmoil. Now she knew for sure what she had suspected for some weeks. It was cancer. The wait after the test over a weekend had felt like forever. She had thought over her entire life remembering all the good bits and the bad, wondering if something she had done could have created this lump in her body.

Mary’s family were not yet fully grown, they still needed their mother. They were learning to become independent, but she felt they still needed a lot of support. Her husband Robert would be all right. Always independent, doing his own thing, he wouldn’t suffer if she went , she thought. Her life had not been quite what she had hoped for so far. She was more of a reactor then an instigator. Life had happened to her rather than she had made it happen. She had not been ambitious and had not made demands on her family. Rather the opposite was true, they had made demands on her and she had complied. What should a mother do other than look after her kids? She fetched and carried them , she gathered up their dirty washing strewn on the floor and dealt with it. She cooked their favourite meals and often felt they might show more consideration and gratitude. She was tired of nagging them; it seemed easier just to do everything herself. She had not insisted that they thanked her for the meals she carefully prepared for them or for keeping the home nice. They were oblivious to her need for recognition and she wasn’t about to tell them how she felt.

Mary thought about how she would do things differently if she survived this. She told herself that the statistics were good these days. Doctors were much more on top of cancer. Most people survived it. Strangely, the idea of telling her family that she wanted more help and appreciation was more daunting to her than telling them that she had cancer. It almost felt like a weakness in her, yet she knew it was not. Her weakness had been in letting them all do exactly what they wanted, without insisting on some return, which would make her life easier and more pleasant. They were not bad kids, they were just selfish and oblivious to a different and better way to behave. It had been her duty and her husband’s to guide the children and they had not. Her husband had grown used to her saying ‘Oh, I don’t mind’, and it had suited him to believe her. He did not take his fair share of parental duties, but as she did not complain, he continued to ignore the situation.

The small knot of resentment had grown and now she had cancer. She had heard that stress can cause all sorts of ills, including cancer, and suddenly she wondered if her bitterness was showing up in her body. It was time to shake up her life. She needed new goals and she needed help to achieve them. The only person who could change things for her was herself. She saw it now. Taking the line of least resistance was not an option now. She made a list of things that would have to change, it was not a long list, but it was a very important one.

Mary stuck the list on the fridge door with a magnet and went back to bed and slept. The following day was a Sunday. Normally she would be the one to get up and make the breakfast. On this day she slept on. At 10 o’clock her husband appeared with tray, on it was a pot of tea and some toast with butter and marmalade. He looked sheepish and embarrassed.

‘Oh, thank you Robert. I thought you were off to golf this morning.’ she said.

Mary’s son and daughter appeared at the door. They looked upset and worried . ‘Hello Mum,’ was all they could say.

Robert reached into into his back pocket and took out Mary’s fridge list. He put it on the tray, Mary noticed ticks on all the items, they looked like marks of agreement. The family had at last come together and had seen what needed to be done for their mum.

‘I’m going to fight it,’ said Mary, ‘but I don’t want to have to fight you too. Thanks for the ticks. Promise me that you’ll remember to go along with it? It is fair enough, isn’t it? All I want to do is to be able to train as…. an astronaut. …That’s not too much to ask, is it? ‘

Her smile told them they were forgiven and she hoped that all their tears were a promise of the help and support she needed.

 

 

For a young man who would like to have a girlfriend (for young adults)

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 young man. 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 be 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 of commitment. 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 realised 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 of 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.

Spiritual Advice on Ethical Investment from a city gent in 1800s England

 

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.

Story about sexual exploitation of a young girl ‘Sasha Escapes’ for children of 10 to 17 years

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?

Amygdala’s Journey – A Story about seeing the world as a reflection of yourself ( from teens to adult)

Seeing the world as a reflection of yourself, (a story requested by Dinesh, a reader)  A recent trend in Spirituality.

Amygdala’s journey

There was once a child called Amygdala. Her beautiful flaxen hair flowed around her head. Her family thought she must be the loveliest creature ever to have been born. They brought her up to expect everything to be perfect in her world. The family was wealthy. Nothing was beyond their reach. The child had clothes and later jewels fit for a princess. Her room was furnished in silks and beautifully carved golden furniture. Large goldfish swam in her pond in the extensive gardens. Roses bloomed from early spring until late autumn and in winter even the snow and icicles took on a perfect appearance.
Amygdala however was not satisfied. Something was missing in her life.
“Father, I cannot be happy here anymore. I must go out into the world and find what it is that I need.”
“But my dear, you have everything you could need. You have a loving family and a beautiful home. You are well=educated, you speak many languages. You have learnt all about history and geography from your tutors. Your life is as complete and well=rounded as it could possibly be for a young woman of your age.”
“Father I know that what you say is true in many ways, however something is missing and I don’t know what it is. I must go out into the world and truly experience these things, people and places that I have learnt about. I know I have more to learn but I do not know what it will be.”
“Very well my child, you may go, but not alone. Your brother Arturo will go with you. He will protect you while you discover something of the world. It can be a dangerous place but Arturo is an accomplished swordsman and will stay by your side.”
Amygdala and Arturo set off on their horses and after a day of travelling they sought somewhere to rest. They knocked at the door of an old cottage at the edge of the forest. An old man bent double with age opened the door. He offered them his room for the night. Arturo slept on a rug on the floor and his sister slept in the narrow cot. She was so tired that sleep came fast. She dreamt that she was in a beautiful palace and that the old man was king. When she awoke she was surprised to find herself in the little cot. The old man gave them a simple meal and sent them on their way. Kindness shone from his eyes. As the days passed Amygdala and Arturo stayed in many different places. All were kind and welcoming to them. Some were curious and asked the pair why they were travelling as they clearly had no idea about where they were going.
“We want to see something more of the world,” was Amygdala’s reply.
“And what do you think about what you have seen?” they would ask.
“I see kindness and beauty wherever we go,” she would say.
One day they crossed a wide river. On the other side people were walking with crutches, poor people, starving people. These people were not offering help, they were asking for it. There was suffering in their faces.
“Arturo, we cannot just walk by and leave these people to suffer. We must try to help them.”
Amygdala and Arturo discovered that these people had been fighting with their neighbouring village. A feud had been going on for many years.
“But why can you not come to an agreement?” asked Amygdala. To have shed so much blood and to suffer so on both sides! I cannot understand you.”
“The world is a hard and cruel place and full of suffering,” said one of the limbless men. “Our neighbours are full of hatred, we cannot agree on peace with them.”
Amygdala and Arturo travelled on. Shortly they came to the next village. The fields were laid bare. Houses and barns had been burnt down. Limbless men walked on crutches. Arturo stopped by the roadside. A child approached him.
“Sir,” he said, “please help us. We have nothing, we are hungry.”
A woman, the child’s mother appeared. She introduced herself as the widow of the headman of the village.
“Why has all this devastation taken place?” asked Amygdala
“My husband was very brave. He fought our neighbours for years, but finally they killed him and burnt our land. It is a cruel world we live in.”
“What could you do to make peace with your neighbours, surely that would be the answer?” asked Amygdala.
“They are a wicked and cruel people. We can never make peace with them.”
Realising that they could not be of any help Amygdala and Arturo crossed back over the river and began their homeward journey. Amygdala felt she had seen enough of the world to help her understand a little more about life.
“It seems to me Arturo that people get what they expect from the world. I expect love kindness and beauty and indeed that is what I find, even outside the confines of my home. Those warring people expect hatred and suffering and that is what they get. They cannot seem to break free of it because they cannot imagine that life is possible without it. They are not willing to make the first move. They know nothing else.”
Amygdala returned to her father’s home and reported her findings.
“Ah, my child, you have discovered a Great Truth: As on the inside, so it is on the outside. May Love Peace and Harmony fill us and be with us all the days of our lives.

The story ends. Teresa the writer or channel is pondering the meaning of it. She sends it to Dinesh as requested. Dinesh immediately understands what the story is saying. The following is his interpretation, thank you Dinesh:

The story is perfect… This theme has been something that keeps returning to my mind, and I’ve been contemplating it for some time now…

What resonated with me :
The princess sees and encounters only happy, helpful people when she herself is filled with happiness and peace….

When she encounters the two villages, she herself does not feel any animosity or anger towards the people in the villages, she remains as an unaffected non-judging observer and so what she is seeing is not a reflection of her own self….

However the villagers themselves are limbless and scarred with suffering, because of how they perceive the other villagers… Similarly the other village suffers because they too feel the same about the neighboring village.

Thanks for the wonderful story, Teresa… Love it.

Om Sai Ram
Dinesh

A Therapeutic story for widows of 50 plus. ‘Making a life’

A Therapeutic story for widows of 50 plus!

She was a nurse in a large teaching hospital.  Her husband, Brian,  despite his strong love for her could not give up the things that were slowly killing him. He kept her laughing ‘til the end, inspite of everything.  Then he was gone.  She was in the intensive care unit every day after his heart bypass operation, watching him slowly fade away.  He could not be stopped. 

He used to say that he was amazed that he had reached 60.  He had done so many dangerous things during his lifetime. On one occasion he was swinging on the end of a long rope off a sheer mountainside, saved by one solitary carabina, while rescuing people lost in a mountain blizzard.  He was lowered into the sea from a helicopter on countless occasions, to pick up drowning people.  Once he found himself grappling in the cold Atlantic Ocean with a very large and fat French yachtsman who could not swim.  The man tore at Brian’s face mask and broke his airline.  Brian had to make a tough decision: ‘It’s him or me’.  The Frenchman floated away into the ocean and the crew winched Brian back to safety.  He had broken most of the bones in his body at one time or other, through bravery, foolhardiness and as he admitted, stupidity on occasion.  But as a sober and hardworking man, just one year before receiving his hard earned pension, the cigarettes carried him off.

She was distraught but not very surprised.  He had struggled with his addiction to tobacco for many years.  She felt young, too young to be a widow.  She would have to take another look at her life and try to pick up the pieces.  She knew she must become comfortable in her own skin.  She was no longer one of a pair.  She needed to understand who she was as a person, not always as someone reflected by another.

On the day of his funeral the skies opened and water flowed like rivers down the roads on the moor.  She had never seen anything like it.  She told herself the heavens were weeping for her lost love.

Their friends gathered and celebrated his life.  A man who could talk to anyone, from the Queen Mother with whom he had waltzed, to the men on the factory floor sweeping up dropped pastry.  He could talk well into the night, recounting stories from the past, and now there was just an empty silence.

He had not wanted his death to be announced to the world, no newspaper columns, no obituaries. She kept her mind occupied with work and at home she redecorated the whole house, keeping busy, always busy, but every time she went out she found herself explaining to yet another person that her man had died.  Again and again the tears fell, every person witnessing her grief.

The tears of sorrow changed and became associated with a different feeling.  They seemed to be more about self pity than grief.  At first she hardly noticed the difference, but when she asked herself why she was crying she realised that she had cried out her loss and now she was weeping with pity for herself in her lonely state.

She decided that this was not helping her in any way.  She had many years to enjoy and much to contribute to the world.  Somehow she must find ways of getting what she needed from the world.  She needed friendship – people who care about her to be in her life.  As a couple they had been rather too insular, she needed to develop her friendships and her talents.

That she did, she drummed and sang and joined a band and life improved a lot.  In spite of that joy there was a big hole in her life.  There was no-one to share the joys and sorrows of each day, no-one who cared about where she  was or what she was doing, no loving arms to hold her close and warm.  The men who did approach her were not right for her.  They did not share her mystical insights.  They were too earthbound.

 She had fostered a belief that the Universe provides what we ask for, and in general had found it to be so.  When finally she was feeling as if she had established her own identity and knew well what she herself was, she decided to make a move…..

The Universe responded with alacrity… The story unfolds….If you are a widow, you create the next part yourself, through intention, action, and even prayer.

‘What are step mothers really like?’ a story to help children 4-9 years

What are step-mothers really like?

Mary was a girl of five years old.  She had never known her real mother.  She was brought up by her daddy and her grandmother whom she called Nanny.

Mary loved her Nanny and her dad very much.  She didn’t know her dad was lonely and needed to have a wife.  Nanny used to read bedtime stories to Mary.  She especially liked Snow White and Cinderella.  She used to pretend she was Snow White sometimes.  She would take a bite of a red apple and then fall on the ground and pretend to be asleep, waiting for a prince to wake her up with a kiss.  She used to call her dad to come and give her a kiss, which sometimes he would do, and then she would be happy ever after.  But sometimes Daddy was too busy and she had to wait until the dog saw her lying on the floor.  He would always give her a kiss, even though he wasn’t supposed to lick her!  She would wipe her face and then give the dog a big hug.

‘Thank you Rufty Tufty!’ she would say, ‘Now I can be happy ever after and we can live in this beautiful castle.’

One day daddy brought a pretty lady home.  She brought a present for Mary.  Daddy said he was going to marry this lady called Sue.  He said that Mary needed a mother and he needed a wife.  She would be Mary’s step-mother.  Now the only time Mary had heard about step- mothers was when Nanny read her the fairy stories about Snow White and Cinderella.  Mary became worried.  She thought that Step-Mother was the same as Wicked Step-Mother.

Mary got quite upset.  She hid behind the sofa.  She didn’t want to have a wicked Step-Mother.  Nanny asked Mary what was the matter.

‘I don’t want to have a wicked Step-Mother’ said Mary in a sad voice.

‘Oh, I see what the problem is,’ said Nanny. ‘Now let me explain about step-mothers.’

Nanny went on to tell Mary that you can only ever have one real mother and she is the person who gave birth to you.  You grew inside her tummy and when you were ready, out you popped, all new and slippery.

‘Sometimes people’s real mothers go away because something happens.  Some children never meet their real mothers.  Then along comes a nice lady who wants to help their daddy to look after them and they are called step-mothers.  Most people’s step-mothers are very nice people, who love the daddy and the children.’

‘Well, I think Sue is nice, but I was a bit worried,’ said Mary, ‘I thought all step mothers were nasty.’

‘Ah, I see how you could make that mistake, Mary, because that’s what your story seems to say.  But no, step-mothers can be very kind, good people, and usually are.  I’m sure we will be very happy to have Sue in our family.’

And do you know what?  They were all very happy and lived happily ever after.

 

 

How many nice step-mums can you see?

 

 

This blog is about learning through stories

Welcome to my Story Blog!  There are over 100 useful stories mostly for children but some for adults too. For stories about YOGA click the ‘Yoga Stories’ category on the categories list, right hand column of blog.

To read my stories look at the 2 contents pages (with links), top of screen, which list all story subjects and suitable age groups OR go to  ‘categories‘ on right of screen to find what you need, scroll down to find a suitable story.   Or use key words, for example ‘punctuality’, ‘honesty’, etc, in the search box (top right).

This blog can work like a shuttlecock – I tap it over to you and ask  ‘do you need a story for something?’  You reply to me via the comments box to ask me for a story about – for example ‘resilience’, or ‘forgiveness’ and so on.  I need to know the age range of my audience.  

Here’s an example: someone said  “I need a story about being helpful, for six year old children.”   I will see what I can do! You ‘get the shuttlecock back’, with a story and even a picture, if you are lucky!  All for free.

Here’s my shuttlecock, coming your way!shuttlecock006

Good to be me. A story for children 9-11 years old

ERIC at school in Africa

 

Eric walked along the dusty track, a stick in his hand.  He was pushing a ball along in front of him, using the bent and gnarled piece of wood. His
movements were quick and deft. He was in control of the ball. His bare feet moved steadily, avoiding any sharp obstacles along the way. If the ball hit a stone and bounced to one side, he quickly drew it back in front of him, rolling it along the track. He had some hard thinking to do.

Eric’s African life was tough compared to many children in the world. He was eleven years of age and was lucky enough to go to school. Many of the children in his area did not get an education. Eric thought that he was fortunate. He decided to make the most of his life. He was wise for his years.

As he was the eldest boy in his family and his mother and father were both dead, he felt responsible for the care of his brothers and sisters. His grandmother looked after the family, but she could not do everything. The children had to help themselves and each other, or the family would not survive. Luckily they had a piece of ground large enough to grow  food to feed them all, as long as there was rain to water the crops. There was little time for play. Even the small ones had jobs to do to help their grandma prepare their food, or looking after the few animals that they kept.

Eric’s sister, Tete, helped to grind the maize to make mealy meal. This is the porridge that was their main food every day. They could have eggs once a week. The extra eggs were sold to help to pay for Eric’s schooling.

Tete and the twins, who were only six, did all sorts of little jobs for grandma. She wasn’t very strong herself, but she could tell the children what to do and show them how to do it, and somehow the family got by. They were very proud of Eric. He would be the one who would be able to earn money for the family because he was going to school.  His class was held underneath a canopy on a verandah next to the school house. Another class took lessons inside the school. There were fifty children under the canopy, all trying hard to learn to read and write. The teacher was very good. He told them interesting stories and made them laugh. He was also very strict. There were very few books in the school, and hardly any paper and pencils. All the work was done on slates which were scraped with soft stones to make letters or numbers. Then they were wiped with a damp cloth to erase the work.

Eric could read and write better than anybody in his class. He found he was very good with number work too. He had a quick mind. One of the teachers said she  would like Eric to help in the market on a Saturday. She promised to pay him well so that he could help his family to buy clothes.

Eric went home to tell his grandmother what the teacher had asked him to do. Grandmother looked sad. “Who will hoe the ground and plant the maize seeds if you are away all week at school, and on Saturdays too? You know your sisters are not strong enough to lift the hoe. Your teacher does not realise that we must have food before we can think about new clothes.”

Eric was angry and upset. He had been very pleased when the teacher had asked him to work at the market. Now his grandma was refusing to let him go. He needed to have a long think about the situation. He picked up his gnarled old stick and his ball and, keeping it carefully under his control, he went to the river bank.

Eric sat on a log. He could hear the hippos grunting and grumbling in the distance. He picked up a stone and flung it as hard as he could across the water. It bounced sixteen times. That was a record for him. Suddenly his anger melted away. He realised that it was good to be wanted and needed. It was good that he could help his family and there would be time enough for earning money when his brothers and sisters were able to do the kind of work that he had to do now. He loved his family and did not want them to go hungry just because he wanted to work at the market. After all, he was top of the class. When he was old enough he would get a much better job altogether.

Eric walked home as the sun began to set. His bad temper had gone and he felt contented with his life. He decided to apologise to his grandma for being thoughtless and rude and to tell her he loved her for taking care of all of them.

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1.    How did you feel when you heard this story?

2.    Did it remind you of anything in your own life?

3.    What kind of a person do you think Eric was?

4.    How did his brothers and sisters help the family?

5.    In Africa there are many schools like Eric’s. How do you think the teacher would deal with bad behaviour, such as bullying, in a class of 50 pupils?

6.    How did Eric control his temper?

7.    What do you do if you are angry?

8.    Eric was contented with his life. Are you contented with your life?

Red Robbie ( a story for 9-11 year olds on non violence)

Red Robbie

Many years ago, in the time when your great grandmother was young, there lived in Scotland a young man called Fergus MacTavish and his brother, Robert.  They lived in Glasgow in an area called the Gorbals. It was infamous for its poverty and violence. Fergus had a large family – three brothers and two sisters. His father worked in the shipyards and his mother worked as a cleaner for some ladies in Bearsden.

Life was hard for the family. There was little money in spite of their parents’ hard work. They never had new clothes. Sometimes the ladies who Mrs. MacTavish worked for would give her clothes they no longer wanted. They were always far too big for her children and they had to be cut down to size.  Some of the women were very good at making new clothes out of old ones, but Fergus’s mother had never really mastered the art of sewing. She was quite handy with the scissors though. She would snip away at a pair of trousers until they were the right length for her ‘biggest lad’ as she called Fergus. When he grew out of them, they would fit the second boy, and so on, down the line of four boys.  The youngest boy, Robbie, was always a sight – a real scruffy lad.  It wasn’t his fault that he was so untidy.

Robbie had a crop of red curly hair and a real temper to go with it. People called him Red Robbie and woe betide anyone who teased him about his appearance or anything else.  Hid dad used to say to him, “You have to stand up for yourself, laddie, because nobody else will.”

Being so small and scruffy, Red Robbie did find himself the target of other lads jokes and remarks, especially at the beginning of the school year when many of the boys had new schools uniforms or at least, clothes that fitted them properly, but not Robbie. He held his oversized trousers up with a belt pulled in to his narrow little waist making lots of pleats where they should have fitted and been smooth. The trousers always looked as if they had half a dozen extra pockets in them.

Many an unsuspecting bigger boy would taunt him “What d’ye have in yer pocket, laddie?” and reaching into one of the pockets in the material to pinch Robbie, he would have a shock. It would be the last time the boy ever tried that trick on Robbie. Robbie would not take any nonsense. He had hard little fists and he was not afraid to use them.

As he grew older he had hard big fists and he began to enjoy using them. He had an expression, “Fists first, ask questions later.” People were afraid of Robbie. They kept their distance from him.

He noticed how his brothers always had friends, and girlfriends too. They got Saturday jobs and earned pocket money and went out to the pictures with their pals. They always seemed to be joking and laughing – whereas Robbie was always cross, always looking for trouble and ready for a fight.

Robbie’s elder brother, Fergus, had a girlfriend called Kathy. She was a lovely girl. She too had lots of red curls. Sometimes when she was waiting for Fergus to come home from his Saturday job, she would chat to Robbie. She was the only girl Robbie ever spoke to. Somehow his rough manner put the girls off and boys too, for that matter. Kathy could see that Robbie was unhappy.  One day she asked him why he was always scowling and angry.

Robbie blushed. He jumped to his feet and held out his fists as if he was going to hit Kathy. “Fists first, ask questions later,” he said.

Kathy knew he would never hit her. They were friends. Suddenly she understood. She knew how poor the family had been when the kids were small. She looked at Robbie and noticed how scruffy he was, and yet his family had enough money these days. Robbie had got into the habit of defending himself so fiercely that he had learnt to attack even before he had good reason to – just in case. In the same way he had got into the habit of always wearing old clothes and looking scruffy.

Robbie’s chats with Kathy helped him to understand that violence was no way to make friends. He needed to learn to give people a chance and not to think they were all out to get at him. He also learned to start to take pride in his appearance. Being neat and clean helped him to look more approachable to other people. He learnt to make friends and he became a much happier person.

QUESTIONS:

1.       How did you feel when you heard this story?

2.       Did it remind you of anything in your own life?

3.       How many people had worn the trousers before Robbie got them?

4.       Why did Robbie get teased?

5.       What did Robbie’s father advise him to do?

6.       How did Robbie stand up for himself?

7.       Could Robbie have done it in a better way?

8.       What did Kathy teach him?

This story was written for the Education in Human Values scheme (bisse.org.uk)