Paddy starts school with a cold potato in his pocket. A story for school starters of 5 years old

Paddy starts school with a cold potato in his pocket

Well hello, you can call me Paddy. I hear you are starting school soon. That will be grand. Things were different in my day. We had to walk to school, or if we were very lucky my dad would put us on the horse. Two kids up on the saddle and two walking, we would take it in turns to ride. I expect you will get taken to school by your mammy, or you may catch a school bus.

On my first day my mam gave me a cold potato for my pocket. That was to be my dinner, but I didn’t really understand that. When it came to dinner time I had nothing to eat as I ate my potato at playtime. Oh dear! I was sad and hungry. I sat on the floor and hid my face. A kind lady spoke to me.

‘Where is your tatty? she asked. ‘Did you eat it before?’

I nodded my head.

‘Awww, never mind. Here I’ve got one for you. You are not the only one you know.’

She sat me down at a table with several other new wee ones. She passed round a bowl with warm potatoes in it. Soon we were all smiling again.

‘ I’ll tell your mammy and your teacher,’ said the kind lady, ‘then you will know when to eat your dinner.’

I had a great day, I was happy at school. They had lots of crayons and games and books to look at. We played games in the playground and I soon got to know the names of the other children in my class.

When I got home I told my mam about the potato. She smiled and said how kind the lady was to give us all another one. She told me that next time I could just bite off the end of my tatty if I was hungry at playtime and I must wait until dinner time to eat the rest of it. She said the nice lady would not have potatoes to give away every day and I had to learn to wait for dinner time to eat mine.

Questions:

Who was the story about?

What was Paddy given for dinner by his mam?

Why was he sad at dinner time?

Was he the only one with no dinner?

What did the kind lady give to the children who didn’t have a tatty for their dinner?

What did Paddy need to remember about his potato the next day?

What nice things did Paddy do on his first day at school?

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Wu and the journey. A story for 9 to 11 year olds, about integrity

Wu and the Journey.

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I am Wang Cheng. Although I am 40 years of age now I well remember my childhood. Chinese parents were allowed to have only one child as the population was growing out of control. The government were very strict about this. If parents went ahead and had two or more children, families could be split up, fined, or punished in other ways. All my friends were from single child families. This meant that all eyes were on the one child. Grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, they were all watching and tutting about my behaviour (and that of my friends in their own families). There was a lot of pressure to behave ‘just so’ to try to please everyone. I must say I did my best to make my family happy. I liked it when my grandma put her hand on my shoulder and said to me “Wang, I am very proud of you!” Or quote my father took me fishing for the day because as he said “I know you can behave yourself, not like your friend Wu. What are his parents thinking of letting him come and go and do what ever he likes to do?”

My friend Wu was my hero. I just loved the way he was so bold and daring. He did things I did not have the courage to do. I was always afraid that someone might tell me off. I was afraid of tearing my clothes or getting dirty, or of trying anything new in case I could not do it well, and my parents would be disappointed in me.

Wu’s parents had plenty of money but not much time, so they employed maidservants to look after Wu. Actually it was a string of maids that they had one after the other. These girls are very inexperienced in looking after children and they would just let Wu do what he wanted to do. He learned that if he screamed and shouted they would agree to let him do almost anything.

Wu decided he was going to have his own circus. He set up a wire in his backyard with the help of the gardener. It wasn’t very high, just a few centimetres off the ground. He soon discovered that it was quite easy to balance on it and to walk along it. When he fell off it didn’t matter as the ground was very close. He told me I should have a go, but I was afraid as usual. It would have been easy enough but I didn’t want to get drawn into his tricks.

tight rope story001

Soon the gardener helped Wu to raise the wire a bit. It was as high as the seat of a stool now. He could still walk along it and if he fell off he had a safe way of falling, he said. I told him he should show his parents, they would be proud of him.

‘No,’ said Wu, ‘they don’t care what I do. They are so busy working they are too tired to bother with me.’

Wu very much wanted his parents to care about what he did, so he started to dream up a plan. He didn’t think they would care for all his circus skills, his juggling, somersaults and high wire act. He decided to save his money and go on a train journey and then they would have to go and find him. They would have to take some time off work and go looking for him. He liked that idea.

‘You must come with me’, he said to me, ‘ I’m off to Chengdu. I have an uncle there. I don’t know exactly where he lives but someone will know him I’m sure.’

Wu told the maid what his plans were. Of course she didn’t believe him as he was always making up stories. He used to lie about all sorts of things to get attention. She just said  ‘Chengdu is a very big city, you will get lost there. You don’t even know where you live yourself let alone where to find your uncle!’

Wu stopped and had a think. ‘Well, will you write my address down for me so when I want to come back I can show the ticket man at the station?’

The maid laughed at his game and wrote his address down on a piece of card.

‘Look after it she said, ‘or you might never come back!’

Wu came to find me to take me with him on his journey. I refused to go. I thought it was a bad idea although I would have loved to have gone with him. I thought my parents would be too worried if I just went off.

Wu disappeared. I ran to tell my grandma what had happened. She had heard so many things about what Wu had said he was going to do, but never did.

She said, ‘Don’t worry Wang, he’ll be back for his supper.’ I was not so sure.

That night his father came knocking at our door.

‘Is Wu here?’ he asked.

It was unusual to see him, he usually sent the maid to our place to bring Wu back for his meals.

‘No, he came and told me he was off to Chengdu,’ I said.

‘That’s right,’ said grandma, ‘more of his nonsense!’

‘You mean you let him go?’ said Wu’s father.

‘Wu has told us so many fanciful things about what he is going to do, I have never tried to stop him because he never does them anyway and because it’s not my place to stop him. It is his parents place – yours.’ Grandma replied.

Wu’s father went red and then he turned white. He looked afraid. ‘He said he was going to catch the train?’

‘That’s what he said, but I didn’t believe him, where would he get the money for a ticket?’ said my Grandma.

Wu’s father rushed off. His wife had recently sacked the previous maid for stealing money. Perhaps Wu has been stealing the money.

Much later Wu told me about what happened that day. He had set off on the train to Chengdu. People were curious about him. They all wanted to know where he was going. They said he was too young to travel alone.

‘Where does your uncle live?’ asked a woman kindly.

‘I don’t know,’ said Wu, ‘someone will know him. Someone will tell me where he lives when I get there .’

The whole carriage has been listening, they burst out laughing; some looked concerned, some laughed cruelly .

The kind woman asked Wu where he lived. He showed her the piece of card.

‘Where are your parents?’

‘They work all day.’

She looked at his nice clothes and shoes. ‘They will be worried about you, you should go home.’

Wu told me he felt like crying. ‘Yes.’ he said, ‘but I don’t know how to go home.’

The woman looked at the piece of card. ‘I know this place,’ she said, ‘I will take you home.’

They left the train at the next station and climbed onto one going in the opposite direction. Wu was relieved to see his own station, a place he recognised from meeting his father when he had been away. They started to move through the crowds.

‘ Wu!’ He heard his father’s voice shouting his name. Well, he went home with his father, the kind lady disappeared, and Wu cried all the way home.

His father did not know what to say but gradually the whole story came out and Wu’s parents realised that their son was brave and clever, but needed more of their time and attention. He needed their guidance about telling the truth and about stealing. He needed to know about having a good reputation, or a bad one. His parents had to explain that if you do things which give you a bad reputation people will not trust you. They may not believe what you say when it is really true. You may find yourself in danger, as Wu nearly did. He needed to know that they appreciated his skills that he worked so hard at. Everyone needs praise and guidance when they are growing up. His grandma came to stay a while so that the family could sort themselves out.

Questions to be added – what questions would you add to make the story useful to children?  You can use the comments box!  Thank you!

 

Monkey Story 2 ‘The Visitors Arrive’, for kids of 6 to 8 years.

The visitors arrive at the Monkey Tribe’s home

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A story about kindness and consideration towards newcomers.

for children of 6 to 8 years old Story Number 2 of 2 stories

This story is ideal for children to turn into a play with some guidance from teachers or parents. Read the story to the children first and ask the questions posed at the end. Discuss with the children how they would like to act out the story and go ahead.

The day the two new monkeys came along was a day to remember.   All the young monkeys had their ideas about how helpful they were going to be, and how they were going to welcome their new visitors.

When the visitors arrived there was something different about them. They had yellow tails.

The monkeys eyed them up and down.

‘Who ever has a yellow tail?’ they thought . No monkeys had yellow tails in their tribe. They scurried round all checking their own tails.   Brown. All Brown. Was there something wrong about the new monkeys? Why were they different? What else was different about them? Did they speak the same way? Did they eat the same food? Did they sleep at night?

The young monkeys were puzzled. They had heard different monkeys jumping around in the trees before, but didn’t notice much about them. Now here were new monkeys who had lost their families and their tribe was being asked to be kind to them and make friends.

One of the clever monkeys thought he would offer them some berries to show that he was friendly.

Shyly the new monkeys ate the berries.

Then the clever monkey made a long chattering sound and the new monkeys answered him with their own slightly different chatter.

The clever monkey showed them his tail; he proudly waved it in front of them.

One of the new monkeys jumped up on to a branch and seemed to fall straight off it. Just in time he curled his tail round the branch and hung downwards on it showing everyone what a clever tail he had too.

monkey-tail002

The monkeys soon realised that although their new friends looked a little different from them, they still needed kindness and friendship, and in their turn they would be kind and friendly too.

They fitted in very well with the monkey tribe and soon all the monkeys forgot about the differences between them, because those are the things that did not matter. Being kind and friendly and helping each other are what matters most.

Questions:

What would you call this story?

How did the monkeys feel about having new visitors?

How did the clever monkey make the new monkeys feel at home? 

What could the new monkey do with his tail? 

Even if monkeys or people are a bit different from us they are just the same inside, everyone, monkeys and people need what?

The Monkey Code, about kindness and consideration to newcomers. Story 1 for kids of 6 to 8 years old

   The Monkey Code

A story about kindness and consideration towards newcomers.

for children of 6 to 8 years old.    Story Number 1 of 2 stories

This story is ideal for children to turn into a play with some guidance from teachers or parents. Read the story to the children first and ask the questions posed at the end. Discuss with the children how they would like to act out the story and go ahead.

The monkeys were having a meeting, they were making a lot of noise and jumping up and down. There were monkey mothers and monkey children and some old grey monkeys too. Nobody could hear what anybody was saying.

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An old grey backed monkey stood and reached his big hand up to a tree branch. He shook it hard. All the leaves rattled and made a swishing noise. The baby monkeys ran to their mothers and hid. The boy and girl monkeys stopped jumping about and looked at the old grey monkey. They knew he was the leader of the tribe and that what he had to say was important. Monkeys who had been swinging about the branches clambered down to the ground to listen. Monkeys who were grooming each other stopped looking for bits and pieces to pick off their friends’ coats. All eyes were turned to Grey Back.

‘We are all here today because there is some news. Now listen carefully. We’re going to have some new monkeys in our tribe. There are two young monkeys coming to join us. They have lost their families. There was a fire in their part of the forest and they lost their homes. I want to know how you will take care of them when they come. The monkeys looked round at each other. They were very quiet. They knew that this was important and they were thinking hard. They were just imagining how frightened and lonely their new visitors might be. Some of the monkey children replied:

‘I can be a good friend,’ said one.

‘I can show them our food trees,’ said another.

‘I can help them to build a nest to sleep on at night,’ said a third.

The monkey mothers nodded their heads in agreement. It seemed like the young monkeys had learned their lessons well. They had been taught to look after each other and to be helpful and kind.

‘Well done ,’ said Grey Back, ‘if you look after others then they will look after you, but if you are unkind, others will turn away from you, and your unkindness will turn to unhappiness. And that is against the Monkey Code. What do we want? Happy monkeys, helpful monkeys, that’s our code!’

Grey Back gave the branch one last shake then lumbered off into the trees.

‘Happy monkeys, helpful monkeys!’ chattered the youngsters as they went back to their clambering about.’

‘I’m off to find some fruit’ said a teenage monkey.

‘Fruit, fruit!’ whooped the youngsters as they all disappeared into the trees.

Questions

What name would you give to this story – what do you think it is about?

Why did the monkeys have a meeting?

Why were two young monkeys coming to join the tribe? 

How did the monkeys say they would take care of the visitors?

How would you look after new people in school?

Does the story remind you of anything in your life?

Young girl dies after taking ‘teddies’. A story about taking drugs for 11yrs to teenage.

Sharon learns something about drugs

Sharon's Avatar

Sharon was bored again. She heard something on the news about a girl of 12 who died after taking something called ‘teddies’. It was a made to look harmless and fun in the shape of a teddy’s head. She searched for ‘teddies’ on her laptop . Immediately she found a site which claimed to advise people about drugs. There were a few questions and answers about taking unknown pills, and then she found this poem. It grabbed her attention.

“I destroy homes, tear families apart – take your children, and that’s just the start.
I’m more costly than diamonds, more costly than gold – the sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.
And if you need me, remember I’m easily found.
I live all around you, in schools and in town.
I live with the rich, I live with the poor, I live down the street, and maybe next door.
My power is awesome – try me you’ll see.
But if you do, you may never break free.
Just try me once and I might let you go, but try me twice, and I’ll own your soul.
When I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie.
You’ll do what you have to just to get high.
The crimes you’ll commit, for my narcotic charms, will be worth the pleasure you’ll feel in your arms.
You’ll lie to your mother; you’ll steal from your dad.
When you see their tears, you should feel sad.
But you’ll forget your morals and how you were raised.
I’ll be your conscience, I’ll teach you my ways.
I take kids from parents, and parents from kids, I turn people from God, and separate from friends.
I’ll take everything from you, your looks and your pride, I’ll be with you always, right by your side.
You’ll give up everything – your family, your home, your friends, your money, then you’ll be alone.
I’ll take and I’ll take, till you have nothing more to give.
When I’m finished with you you’ll be lucky to live.
If you try me be warned this is no game. 
If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane.
I’ll ravish your body, I’ll control your mind.
I’ll own you completely; your soul will be mine.
The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed.
The voices you’ll hear from inside your head.
The sweats, the shakes, the visions you’ll see.
I want you to know, these are all gifts from me.
But then it’s too late, and you’ll know in your heart, that you are mine, and we shall not part.
You’ll regret that you tried me, they always do.
But you came to me, not I to you.
You knew this would happen. 
Many times you were told, but you challenged my power, and chose to be bold.
You could have said no, and just walked away.
If you could live that day over, now what would you say?
I’ll be your master; you will be my slave.
I’ll even go with you, when you go to your grave.
Now that you have met me, what will you do?
Will you try me or not? 
Its all up to you.
I can bring you more misery than words can tell.
Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.”
by
Samantha Reynolds

Crystal, hash, teddies, they have many names and many effects. Young people may be tempted to try them. They may be told that it’s cool to take them, that their lives will be more exciting, and that the drugs are not addictive. Their friends may be taking them, or they meet someone in the street who is young and smiling, who offers friendship and kindness, and drugs. What to do? How bad is it? How bad could it be?

Just picture your mother or father finding you slumped in a corner unable to move. That’s how bad it can be. Picture your grandma dabbing her eyes with her hanky and saying, ‘She shouldn’t have died before me.’

It can be that bad. Or it can send you to a mental hospital. Your brain is a delicate instrument. Some of these drugs are contaminated or are much stronger than you think; you just don’t know what you are swallowing or sniffing or injecting.

Or it can go so well that you want to find more. You can’t stop thinking about it. It was so good you were able to forget all your troubles. You need more, but it costs money and you don’t have enough. You steal from your parents. Eventually they get so angry with you that you leave home. You are on the street with no money, no food and no drugs. You steal from an old lady; you take her bag. She is so frightened and shocked that she falls over and hits her head and dies. You go to prison. You think you might be among friends in prison but you are not. They are violent and dangerous people and they hurt you. This is a black tale, but it happens far more than you want to know, and all because someone was tempted to ‘have some fun’.

It can be a very slippery slope and slippery slopes are almost impossible to climb out of. Suicides are common among drug users. Don’t become one, ever. You can always find people who say they have been using drugs for years and are still OK, but there are many who are not. Surely it is not worth the risk?

Questions:

What questions would you like to ask? Don’t be afraid to ask an informed adult, someone you trust. Do not ask a drug user, they will probably not give you an honest answer.

 

 

Brexit, a different view

One Foreigner’s Point of View on Brexit

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Iceland is as its name implies, very cold. My family were used to it but I never wanted to stay in that climate. The warmth of the sun tempted me away from my country. I left and travelled to Europe in my early 20s. I was unsure as to where I wanted to settle. I decided to try out as many European countries as I could. They all have their attractions and they all have their faults. It was interesting to notice that they are all well aware of their best attributes, but seemed to be unaware of their own problematic behaviours, which were slightly different in each country.

Each had national pride, traditions and values close to the hearts of their citizens, but they were blind to their own difficult issues. They felt that, what ever they were, they were common issues the world over. I was present when the European Union was formed and people’s eyes were opened to their own idiosyncrasies and their foibles and unfairnesses. Many laws were made and much exchange took place. Towns were twinned, people shared their lives, if only for short periods. Countries could no longer turn a blind eye to their problems, and solutions suddenly seemed possible. It was no longer deemed appropriate for workers to be at the mercy of their employers regarding hours worked and pay rates. Equality of opportunity suddenly became a concept that was enshrined in law instead of being jeered at by those who felt they were ‘more equal’ than anyone else. Racism, sexism, ageism became part of the vocabulary. ‘Inclusion’ became a byword.

Of course it was not all entirely without fault or difficulty but the lives of millions were improved beyond imagining. Meanwhile law makers went too far on occasion. The combination of open borders and a reduction in the availability of work for those who were unwilling or unable to perform various tasks both and skilled or skilled, began to led to resentment.

Meanwhile a swirl of humanity has occurred over the past 30 years, as indeed it has on many occasions in our human history, as modern genetic studies have shown us. This mixing cannot be undone. It leads to strength in the gene pool rather than to weakness. It leads to the worst excesses of the different cultures being changed and improved. It leads to compassion and understanding between different cultures and races. We cannot step backwards. We must learn to move forwards together; there is no purification that can take place. We are by nature and ever-changing species growing and improving.

Our strength is unity in our diversity.

If Britain cuts itself off from Europe I am moving back to Iceland, chilly as it is, it won’t feel as cold and isolated as I fear Britain will, alone in the world following a ‘Brexit’.

A lonely road

A lonely road

Getting on and Falling Out . A story about non-violence for primary school children 9 – 11 years old

Boys arguing blog pic

Some useful guidelines for peace and harmony.

Yoga Stories

THE RULES

My father went to England to earn more money. He left us behind – Wazek, my brother who is twelve and me, Tadjo. Our mum works in a factory in Warsaw. We live in a flat on the outskirts of the city. Dad said that if all goes well maybe we can visit him in England. He shares a house with several other Polish people. He sends half of what he earns back home to us. It is good to have more money, but it is not good to have no dad at home. I miss him a lot. So does my mum. Sometimes she cries at night. She thinks we don’t hear, but we do. It’s usually when we’ve been arguing. She used to say, ‘Just wait until your dad gets home’. She doesn’t say it any more. She just tells us to stop arguing and then…

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A story about ‘Changes’ for 9-10yrs (Dotty has to leave her home)

Now ‘Dotty the Dalmation story’ has a picture. This story is useful for those working with children to be fostered or adopted.

Yoga Stories

A story about “Changes” (SEAL topic) illustrating the value of LOVE (6mins)

Dotty the Dalmation has to leave her home

Everyone calls me Dotty, but actually I am ‘Miranda Saint Edmunds the Second’.  I am a Dalmatian.  I come from a long line of famous dogs.  I am sure you know my breed; we are white, spotted all over with black dots.  We are considered to be very pretty and a little stupid – hard to train – you know the sort of thing; we don’t like to ‘fetch’ or to ‘sit’.  We just like to do our own thing.

When I was born, my owners had plenty of money.  The husband worked in the city, in ‘The Bank’, and the wife had no job as such.  She bred us Dalmatians and spent of lot of time walking us on Hampstead Heath.  She had lots of friends who were all…

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2013 in review

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.

Helping people deal with change in the workplace – for adults

Helping people deal with change in the workplace   (for adults, requested by Anna Croce )

Some thoughts from Finland.

In our country we have several traditional occupations.  In the past we used to hunt the wildlife, capturing bears and reindeer, and any creature that would provide us with food or fur.  Things have changed a great deal in the last century.  We have become mechanised, integrated, specialised and at the same time the need for flexibility has arisen.

The artisan has needed to learn computer skills.  He may still ply his trade but now the world has become his market.  He sells his goods on the internet.  Small co-operatives have sprung up where previously individuals worked alone.  Within these groups specialisms have arisen.  In general they all understand their trade but those most skilled in production, those most artistic and accomplished crafts people continue to produce their artefacts.  Others within the group develop skills of marketing, advertising and selling the goods.

We have found it most effective to learn several skills in order to deal with modern demands.  One market closes and another opens.  Individuals are required to be flexible and prepared to learn and change.  That way we can respond to the market quickly and keep ahead. 

My family provides an example of this flexibility.  We have a white wood furniture business.  There is a high demand for our beautifully designed kitchens in Europe and America.  We have watched recessions come and go.  The work force has fluctuated somewhat, but we always try to keep as many as we can employed.  We find that those who are most skilled and specialised are the ones who are worst affected in recessions, so we have a policy which deals with this problem.  We insist that all employees train to work in at least two or three departments.  Sure, it costs us money, but it means we have a flexible workforce able to adapt to changes and confident that if their preferred work dried up they could do other kinds of work.  This could be within the company or they might need to work outside the company in their second or third area of expertise. 

This approach makes for a calm resilient workforce grateful for their opportunities to develop their skills.  They are loyal to the company but know that they could cope if they have to leave.  That is our solution to anticipating the changes in this fluid market and employment situation.  What are your solutions?

Questions  

How does company policy on health affect people’s flexibility and attitudes?  Are employees encouraged to look after their health in positive and constructive ways?

Is there a genuine system in place that allows people to air their concerns without fear of retribution?

Is there a counselling and advice service available to employees, or within a small company a person who is trained to deal with confidential matters?