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8 Nisan 2014 Salı

Inspirational Stories

Cookies: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Children learn what they live: . . . . . . 2

Kindness: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Lessons from a terrapin: . . . . . . . . . 3

The color of friendship: . . . . . . . . . . 4

A gift from God: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Information please:. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Flying: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Mikey's goal: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Mr. Gillespie: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

My best friend and I:. . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Real friend: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

The Emperor's seed: . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

The cherry tree: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Maintain your integrity: . . . . . . . . . . 11

That's not my job: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

Winners and winners: . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Flame of love: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Circle of love:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Learn from mistakes: . . . . . . . . . . . 14

The pig and the cow:. . . . . . . . . . . . 14

To tell the truth: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

The bear and the two travelers: . . . . 14

The builder: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

Tommy's essay: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

The man who had plenty:. . . . . . . . . 16

The acorn planter: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Animal are parents too: . . . . . . . . . . 17

The ass and the mule: . . . . . . . . . . . 17

The bridge: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

The circus:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

The fire: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

God's power in action: . . . . . . . . . . . 21

He needed me: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Just a little smile: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Pickup in the rain: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

A pillow and a blanket: . . . . . . . . . . 23

Winning: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Weakness or strength:. . . . . . . . . . . 24

Dig a little deeper: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Don't give up: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Never give up: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Keep on keeping on: . . . . . . . . . . . 26

The chicken: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

I can make it happen: . . . . . . . . . . . 27

The mental chain:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Busy: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Become what you want to be:. . . . . . 28

Time management parable: . . . . . . . 29

Sparky-Charlie Brown:. . . . . . . . . . . 30

The ants and the grasshopper: . . . . . 30

The rebellion against the stomach: . . 31

Blurred vision: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Don't change the world:. . . . . . . . . . 32

The father and his sons: . . . . . . . . . 32

The house of 1000 mirrors: . . . . . . . 32

Abraham Lincoln didn't quit: . . . . . . . 33

Great value in disaster: . . . . . . . . . . 33

Bag lady: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Start with yourself: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Rescue at sea: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

A life worth saving: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Two brothers:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Difference:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Puppies for sale: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

What's really important:. . . . . . . . . . 36

The stonecutter: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

My father when I was:. . . . . . . . . . . 37

The window: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

A sense of goose: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38


A small boy at summer camp received a large package

of cookies in the mail from his mother. He ate a few, then

placed the remainder under his bed. The next day, after

lunch, he went to his tent to get a cookie. The box was


That afternoon a camp counselor, who had been told of

the theft, saw another boy sitting behind a tree eating the

stolen cookies. "That young man," he said to himself,

"must be taught not to steal."

He returned to the group and sought out the boy whose

cookies had been stolen. "Billy," he said, "I know who

stole your cookies. Will you help me teach him a lesson?"

"Well, yes-but aren't you going to punish him?" asked

the puzzled boy.

"No, that would only make him resent and hate you,"

the counselor explained. "I want you to call your mother

and ask her to send you another box of cookies."

The boy did as the counselor asked and a few days later

received another box of cookies in the mail.

"Now," said the counselor, "the boy who stole your

cookies is down by the lake. Go down there and share

your cookies with him."

"But," protested the boy, "he's the thief."

"I know. But try it--see what happens."

Half an hour later the camp counselor saw the two

come up the hill, arm in arm. The boy who had stolen the

cookies was earnestly trying to get the other to accept his

jackknife in payment for the stolen cookies, and the victim

was just as earnestly refusing the gift from his new

friend, saying that a few old cookies weren't that important


Children Learn

What They Live

If children live with criticism,

they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility,

they learn to fight.

If children live with fear,

they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity,

they learn to feel sorry for


If children live with

ridicule, they learn to be shy.

If children live with jealousy,

they learn what envy is.

If children live with shame,

they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance,

they learn to be


If children live with

encouragement, they learn to

be confident.



One day, a poor boy who was selling

goods from door to door to pay his way

through school, found he had only one thin

dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he

would ask for a meal at the next house.

However, he lost his nerve when a lovely

young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal, he asked for a drink of

water. She thought he looked hungry and so

she brought him a large glass of milk. He

drank it slowly, and then asked, "How much

do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything," she replied.

"Mother has taught us never to accept pay

for a kindness." He said, "Then I thank you

from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that

house, he not only felt stronger physically,

but his faith in God and man was strengthened

also. He had been ready to give up and


Years later, that young woman became

critically ill. The local doctors were baffled.

They finally sent her to the big city, where

they called in specialists to study her rare


Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation.

When he heard the name of the

town she came from, he went down the hall

of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his

doctor's gown, he went in to see her. He recognized

her at once. He went back to the

consultation room determined to do his best

to save her life. From that day, he gave special

attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won.

Dr. Kelly requested from the business office

to pass the final billing to him for approval.

He looked at it, then wrote something on the

edge, and the bill was sent to her room. She

feared to open it, for she was sure it would

take the rest of her life to pay for it all.

Finally she looked, and something caught her

attention on the side of the bill. She read

these words:




Dr. Howard Kelly."

Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy

heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your

love is shed abroad through human hearts

and hands."

Lesson from a Terrapin

There was a boy who found a terrapin,

more commonly known as a turtle.

He started to examine it but the turtle

pulled in its head and closed its shell like a

vice. The boy was upset and he picked up a

stick to try to pry it open.

The boy's uncle saw all this and remarked,

"No, that's not the way! In fact, you may kill

the turtle but you'll not get it to open up with

a stick."

The uncle took the terrapin into the house

and set it near the fireplace. It wasn't but a

few minutes until it began to get warm. Then

the turtle pushed out its head, then stretched

out its legs and began to crawl. "Turtles are

like that," said the uncle, "and people, too.

You can't force them into anything.

But if you first warm them up with some

real kindness, more than likely, they will do

what you want them to do."


The Color of Friendship

Once upon a time the colors of the world

started to quarrel.

All claimed that they were the best.

The most important.

The most useful.

The favorite.

Green said:

"Clearly I am the most important. I am

the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for

grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals

would die. Look over the countryside

and you will see that I am in the majority."

Blue interrupted:

"You only think about the earth, but consider

the sky and the sea. It is the water that

is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds

from the deep sea. The sky gives space and

peace and serenity. Without my peace, you

would all be nothing."

Yellow chuckled:

"You are all so serious. I bring laughter,

gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is

yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow.

Every time you look at a sunflower, the

whole world starts to smile. Without me

there would be no fun."

Orange started next to blow her trumpet:

"I am the color of health and strength. I

may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve

the needs of human life. I carry the most

important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins,

oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I

don't hang around all the time, but when I fill

the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so

striking that no one gives another thought to

any of you."

Red could stand it no longer he shouted


"I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood -

life's blood! I am the color of danger and of

bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I

bring fire into the blood. Without

me, the earth would be as empty as the

moon. I am the color of passion and of love,

the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy."

Purple rose up to his full height:

He was very tall and spoke with great

pomp: "I am the color of royalty and power.

Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen

me for I am the sign of authority and

wisdom. People do not question me! They listen

and obey."

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly

than all the others, but with just as much

determination: "Think of me. I am the color

of silence. You hardly notice me, but without

me you all become superficial. I represent

thought and reflection, twilight and deep

water. You need me for balance and contrast,

for prayer and inner peace."

And so the colors went on boasting, each

convinced of his or her own superiority. Their

quarreling became louder and louder.

Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright

lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain

started to pour down relentlessly. The colors

crouched down in fear, drawing close to one

another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, rain began to


"You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves,

each trying to dominate the rest.

Don't you know that you were each made for

a special purpose, unique and different? Join

hands with one another and come to me."

Doing as they were told, the colors united

and joined hands.

The rain continued:

"From now on, when it rains, each of you

will stretch across the sky in a great bow of

color as a reminder that you can all live in

peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for

tomorrow." And so, whenever a good rain

washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in

the sky, let us remember to appreciate one



A Gift From God

One day, when I was a freshman in high

school, I saw a kid from my class was walking

home from school. His name was Kyle. It

looked like he was carrying all of his books. I

thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring

home all his books on a Friday? He must

really be a nerd."

I had quite a weekend planned (parties

and a football game with my friends tomorrow

afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders

and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids

running toward him. They ran at him, knocking

all his books out of his arms and tripping

him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went

flying, and I saw them

land in the grass about

ten feet from him. He

looked up and I saw this

terrible sadness in his

eyes. My heart went out

to him. So, I jogged over

to him and as he crawled

around looking for his

glasses, and I saw a tear

in his eye.

As I handed him his

glasses, I said, "Those

guys are jerks. They

really should get lives."

He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!"

There was a big smile on his face.

It was one of those smiles that showed

real gratitude. I helped him pick up his

books, and asked him where he lived. As it

turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him

why I had never seen him before. He said he

had gone to private school before now. I

would have never hung out with a private

school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried

his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool

kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football

on Saturday with me and my friends. He said


We hung all weekend and the more I got

to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my

friends thought the same of him. Monday

morning came, and there was Kyle with the

huge stack of books again. I stopped him and

said, "Darn boy, you are gonna really build

some serious muscles with this pile of books

everyday!" He just laughed and handed me

half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I

became best friends. When we were seniors,

we began to think about college. Kyle decided

on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke.

I knew that we would always be friends, that

the miles would never be a problem. He was

going to be a doctor, and I was going for

business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I

teased him all the time about being a nerd.

He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I

was so glad it wasn't me having to get up

there and speak.

Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked

great. He was one of those guys that really

found himself during high school. He filled

out and actually looked good in glasses. He

had more dates than me and all the girls

loved him!

Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was

one of those days. I could see that he was

nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him

on the back and said,

"Hey, big guy, you'll be

great!" He looked at me

with one of those looks

(the really grateful one)

and smiled. "Thanks,"

he said.

As he started his

speech, he cleared his

throat, and began.

"Graduation is a time to

thank those who helped

you make it through

those tough years. Your

parents, your teachers,

your siblings, maybe a

coach ... , but mostly your friends. I am here

to tell all of you that being a friend to someone

is the best gift you can give them. I am

going to tell you a story."

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as

he told the story of the first day we met. He

had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker

so his mom wouldn't have to do it later

and was carrying his stuff home. He looked

hard at me and gave me a little smile.

"Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me

from doing the unspeakable."

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as

this handsome, popular boy told us all about

his weakest moment. I saw his mom and dad

looking at me and smiling that same grateful

smile. Not until that moment did I realize its


Never underestimate the power of your

actions. With one small gesture you can

change a person's life. For better or for

worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to

impact one another in some way. Look for

God in others.

Each day is a gift from God! Don't forget

to say, "Thank you!"


Information Please

When I was quite young, my father had

one of the first telephones in our neighborhood.

I remember well the polished old case

fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung

on the side of the box. I was too little to

reach the telephone, but used to listen with

fascination when my mother used to talk to


Then I discovered that somewhere inside

the wonderful device lived an amazing person

- her name was Information Please and

there was nothing she did not know.

Information Please could supply anybody's

number and the correct time.

My first personal experience with this

genie-in-the-bottle came one day while my

mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing

myself at the tool bench

in the basement, I

whacked my finger with a

hammer. The pain was

terrible, but there didn't

seem to be any reason in

crying because there was

no one home to give

sympathy. I walked

around the house sucking

my throbbing finger,

finally arriving at the

stairway - The telephone!

Quickly I ran for the footstool

in the parlor and

dragged it to the landing. Climbing up I

unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held

it to my ear. Information Please I said into

the mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice

spoke into my ear. "Information."

"I hurt my finger. . ." I wailed into the

phone. The tears came readily enough now

that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the


"Nobody's home but me." I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?"

"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the

hammer and it hurts."

"Can you open your icebox?" she asked. I

said I could. "Then chip off a little piece of ice

and hold it to your finger."

After that I called Information Please for

everything. I asked her for help with my

geography and she told me where

Philadelphia was. She helped me with my

math, and she told me my pet chipmunk I

had caught in the park just the day before

would eat fruits and nuts.

And there was the time that Petey, our pet

canary died. I called Information Please and

told her the sad story. She listened, then said

the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a

child. But I was unconsoled. Why is it that

birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy

to all families, only to end up as a heap of

feathers, feet up on the bottom of a cage?

She must have sensed my deep concern,

for she said quietly, "Paul, always remember

that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone.

"Information Please."

"Information," said the now familiar voice.

"How do you spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in

a small town in the

pacific Northwest. Then

when I was 9 years old,

we moved across the

country to Boston. I

missed my friend very

much. Information

Please belonged in that

old wooden box back

home, and I somehow

never thought of trying

the tall, shiny new

phone that sat on the

hall table.

Yet as I grew into my teens, the memories

of those childhood conversations never really

left me; often in moments of doubt and

perplexity I would recall the serene sense of

security I had then. I appreciated now how

patient, understanding, and kind she was to

have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college,

my plane put down in Seattle. I had

about half an hour or so between plane and

I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with

my sister, who lived there now. Then without

thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown

operator and said, "Information


Miraculously, I heard again the small,

clear voice I knew so well, "Information." I

hadn't planned this but I heard myself saying,

"could you tell me please how-to spell

fix?' There was a long pause. Then came the

soft spoken answer, "I guess that your finger

must have healed by now."



Once upon a time there

was a little boy who was

raised in an orphanage.

The little boy had always

wished that he could fly like

a bird. It was very difficult

for him to understand why

he could not fly. There were

birds at the zoo that were

much bigger than he, and

they could fly.

"Why can't I?" he

thought. "Is there something

wrong with me?" he


There was another little

boy who was crippled. He

had always wished that he

could walk and run like other little boys and


"Why can't I be like them?" he thought.

One day the little orphan boy who had

wanted to fly like a bird ran away from the

orphanage. He came upon a park where he

saw the little boy who could not walk or run

playing in the sandbox.

He ran over to the little boy and asked him

if he had ever wanted to fly like a bird.

"No," said the little boy who could not

walk or run. "But I have wondered what it

would be like to walk and run like other boys

and girls."

"That is very sad." said the little boy who

wanted to fly. "Do you think we could be

friends?" he said to the little boy in the sandbox.

"Sure." said the little boy.

The two little boys

played for hours. They

made sand castles and

made really funny sounds

with their mouths. Sounds

which made them laugh

real hard. Then the little

boy's father came with a

wheelchair to pick up his

son. The little boy who had

always wanted to fly ran

over to the boy's father and

whispered something into

his ear.

"That would be OK," said

the man.

The little boy who had

always wanted to fly like a

bird ran over to his new

friend and said, "You are

my only friend and I wish that there was

something that I could do to make you walk

and run like other little boys and girls. But I

can't. But there is something that I can do

for you."

The little orphan boy turned around and

told his new friend to slide up onto his back.

He then began to run across the grass. Faster

and faster he ran, carrying the little crippled

boy on his back. Faster and harder he ran

across the park. Harder and harder he made

his legs travel. Soon the wind just whistled

across the two little boys' faces.

The little boy's father began to cry as he

watched his beautiful little crippled son flapping

his arms up and down in the wind, all

the while yelling at the top of his voice,


I laughed, "So it's really still you, I said."I

wonder if you have any idea how much you

meant to me during that time."

"I wonder, she said, if you know how much

your calls meant to me. I never had any children,

and I used to look forward to your


I told her how often I had thought of her

over the years and I asked if I could call her

again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do, just ask for Sally."

Just three months later I was back in

Seattle. A different voice answered

Information and I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" "Yes, a very old

friend." "Then I'm sorry to have to tell you.

Sally has been working part-time the last few

years because she was sick. She died five

weeks ago." But before I could hang up she

said, "Wait a minute. Did you say your name

was Paul?"


"Well, Sally left a message for you. She

wrote it down, Here it is I'll read it 'Tell him I

still say there are other worlds to sing in.

He'll know what I mean'."

I thanked her and hung up. I did know

what Sally meant.


Mikey's Goal

Last night was the last game for my eightyear-

old son's soccer team. It was the final

quarter. The score was two to one, my son's

team in the lead. Parents encircled the field,

offering encouragement.

With less than ten seconds remaining, the

ball rolled in front of my son's teammate, one

Mikey O'Donnel. With shouts of "Kick it!"

echoing across the field, Mikey reared back

and gave it everything he had. All round me

the crowd erupted. O'Donnel had scored!

Then there was silence. Mikey had scored

all right, but in the wrong goal, ending the

game in a tie. For a moment there was total

hush. You see, Mikey has Down's syndrome

and for him there is no such thing as a wrong

goal. All goals were celebrated by a joyous

hug from Mikey. He had even been known to

hug the opposing players when they scored.

The silence was finally broken when

Mikey, his face filled with joy, grabbed my

son, hugged him and yelled, "I scored! I

scored. Everybody won! Everybody won!" For

a moment I held my breath, not sure how my

son would react. I need not have worried. I

watched, through tears, as my son threw up

his hand in the classic high-five salute and

started chanting, "Way to go Mikey! Way to

go Mikey!" Within moments both teams surrounded

Mikey, joining in the chant and congratulating

him on his goal.

Later that night, when my daughter asked

who had won, I smiled as I replied, "It was a

tie. Everybody won."

Mr. Gillespie

When I was in seventh grade, I was a

candy striper at a local hospital in my town.

I volunteered about thirty to forty hours a

week during the summer. Most of the time I

spent there was with Mr. Gillespie. He never

had any visitors, and nobody seemed to care

about his condition.

I spent many days there holding his hand

and talking to him, helping with anything

that needed to be done. He became a close

friend of mine, even though he responded

with only an occasional squeeze of my hand.

Mr. Gillespie was in a coma.

I left for a week to vacation with my parents,

and when I came back, Mr. Gillespie

was gone. I didn't have the nerve to ask any

of the nurses where he was, for fear they

might tell me he had died. So with many

questions unanswered, I continued to volunteer

there through my eighthgrade


Several years later, when I was a junior in

high school, I was at the gas station when I

noticed a familiar face. When I realized who

it was, my eyes filled with tears. He was

alive! I got up the nerve to ask him if his

name was Mr. Gillespie, and if he had been in

a coma about five years ago. With an uncertain

look on his face, he replied yes. I

explained how I knew him, and that I had

spent many hours talking with him in the

hospital. His eyes welled up with tears, and

he gave me the warmest hug I had ever


He began to tell me how, as he lay there

comatose, he could hear me talking to him

and could feel me holding his hand the whole

time. He thought it was an angel, not a person,

who was there with him. Mr. Gillespie

firmly believed that it was my voice and

touch that had kept him alive.

Then he told me about his life and what

happened to him to put him in the coma. We

both cried for a while and exchanged a hug,

said our good-byes and went our separate


Although I haven't seen him since, he fills

my heart with joy every day. I know that I

made a difference between his life and his

death. More important, he has made a

tremendous difference in my life. I will never

forget him and what he did for me: he made

me a hero.


My Best Friend and I

I can still remember the first day when I

met my best friend. She had just moved into

the neighborhood and her grandmother who

also lived in the neighborhood brought her

down to meet me. I hid behind my mother

and she hid behind her grandmother, scared

to look at each other. Soon, we lost the shyness

and started playing with each other,

bike riding to each other's house and having

sleepovers. In 7th grade, I first lost touch

with her. She was going through family problems

and I deserted her to be with the "cooler

people". None of my new friends liked her

as much as I did because they knew she had

"problems". However every summer we

would always sit at each other's house and

watch soap operas, eat Doritos (or whatever

junk food her mom had bought) and talk

about everything we liked.

It was last year when I noticed the problem.

I guess I was just to catch up in high

school to realize she needed someone there

for her. Well, she made a new "best friend"

and so did I. Then I didn't know why, but she

started cutting herself!

She was diagnosed with clinical depression,

and had to go to a hospital during the

day. I was very upset at first but with the late

night calls, and meeting each other halfway

up the street at midnight. We still stayed in

touch. I wanted to be there for her since her

new best friend basically deserted her since

people were calling her crazy, and I knew I

still cared about her like a sister.

Yesterday she came to me and said this:

"I never knew what a best friend was until

you were the only person that would stop me

from cutting; the only person that ever made

me feel better about myself and my problems.

You don't know this but I was trying to

kill myself this one night you called me and I

was crying. I owe you so much, and you didn't

even know you were helping me."

We both cried. And I guess a kind of lesson

from my life so far is to never give up on

your friends. Even if they aren't as cool as

others, or people think they are crazy, they

need someone there. If you desert them, you

will only be miserable yourself. So if a friend

needs you, and you care for them, you can

never desert them.

Real Friend

Horror gripped the heart of the World War

I soldier, as he saw his life-long friend fall in

battle. Caught in a trench with continuous

gunfire whizzing over his head, the soldier

asked his lieutenant if he might go out into

the "No Man's Land" between the trenches to

bring his fallen comrade back.

"You can go," said the lieutenant, "but I

don't think it will be worth it. Your friend is

probably dead and you may throw your own

life away."

The lieutenant's words didn't matter, and

the soldier went anyway. Miraculously he

managed to reach his friend, hoist him onto

his shoulder, and bring him back to their

company's trench. As the two of them tumbled

in together to the bottom of the trench,

the officer checked the wounded soldier, then

looked kindly at his friend.

"I told you it wouldn't be worth it," he

said. "Your friend is dead, and you are mortally


"It was worth it, though, sir," the soldier


"How do you mean, 'worth it'?" responded

the lieutenant. "Your friend is dead!"

"Yes sir," the private answered. "But it was

worth it because when I got to him, he was

still alive, and I had the satisfaction of hearing

him say, 'Jim, I knew you'd come.'"

Many times in life, whether a thing is

worth doing or not really depends on how

you look at it. Take up all your courage and

do something your heart tells you to do so

that you may not regret not doing it later in

life. May each and everyone of you be

blessed with the company of true friends.


The Emperor's Seed

Once there was an emperor in the Far East

who was growing old and knew it was coming

time to choose his successor. Instead of

choosing one of his assistants or one of his

own children, he decided to do something


He called all the young people in the kingdom

together one day. He said, "It has come

time for me to step down and to choose the

next emperor. I have decided to choose one

of you." The kids were shocked! But the

emperor continued. "I am going to give each

one of you a seed today. One seed. It is a

very special seed. I want you to go home,

plant the seed, water it and come back here

one year from today with what you have

grown from this one seed. I will then judge

the plants that you bring to me, and the one

I choose will be the next emperor of the


There was one boy

named Ling who was

there that day and he,

like the others,

received a seed. He

went home and excitedly

told his mother

the whole story. She

helped him get a pot

and some planting soil,

and he planted the

seed and watered it

carefully. Every day he

would water it and

watch to see if it had


After about three weeks, some of the

other youths began to talk about their seeds

and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept going home and checking his seed,

but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four

weeks, five weeks went by. Still nothing.

By now others were talking about their

plants but Ling didn't have a plant, and he

felt like a failure. Six months went by, still

nothing in Ling's pot. He just knew he had

killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and

tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn't

say anything to his friends, however. He just

kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths

of the kingdom brought their plants to the

emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother

that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.

But she encouraged him to go, and to take

his pot, and to be honest about what happened.

Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he

knew his mother was right. He took his

empty pot to the palace.

When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the

variety of plants grown by all the other

youths. They were beautiful, in all shapes

and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor

and many of the other kinds laughed at him.

A few felt sorry for him and just said, "Hey

nice try."

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed

the room and greeted the young people. Ling

just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great

plants, trees and flowers you have grown,"

said the emperor. "Today, one of you will be

appointed the next emperor!"

All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling

at the back of the room with his empty pot.

He ordered his guards to bring him to the

front. Ling was terrified.

"The emperor

knows I'm a failure!

Maybe he will have me


When Ling got to

the front, the Emperor

asked his name. "My

name is Ling," he

replied. All the kids

were laughing and

making fun of him. The

emperor asked everyone

to quiet down. He

looked at Ling, and

then announced to the

crowd, "Behold your new emperor! His name

is Ling!" Ling couldn't believe it. Ling couldn't

even grow his seed. How could he be the new


Then the emperor said, "One year ago

today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told

you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and

bring it back to me today. But I gave you all

boiled seeds which would not grow. All of

you, except Ling, have brought me trees and

plants and flowers. When you found that the

seed would not grow, you substituted another

seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the

only one with the courage and honesty to

bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore,

he is the one who will be the new emperor!"


The Cherry Tree

When George Washington was about six

years old, he was made the wealthy master

of a hatchet of which, like most little boys, he

was extremely fond. He went about chopping

everything that came his way.

One day, as he wandered about the garden

amusing himself by hacking

his mother's peasticks;

he found a

beautiful, young

English cherry

tree, of which

his father was

most proud. He

tried the edge of

his hatchet on

the trunk of the

tree and barked

it so that it died.

Some time

after this, his

father discovered

what had

happened to his favorite tree. He came into

the house in great anger, and demanded to

know who the mischievous person was who

had cut away the bark. Nobody could tell him

anything about it.

Just then George, with his little hatchet,

came into the room.

"George," said his father, "do you know

who has killed my beautiful little cherry tree

yonder in the garden? I would not have taken

five guineas for it!"

This was a hard question to answer, and

for a moment George was staggered by it,

but quickly recovering himself he cried: --

"I cannot tell a lie, father, you know I cannot

tell a lie! I did cut it with my little hatchet."

The anger died out of his father's face,

and taking the boy tenderly in his arms, he


"My son, that you should not be afraid to

tell the truth is more to me than a thousand

trees! yes, though they were blossomed with

silver and golden.had leaves of the purest


Maintain Your Integrity

A while back, there was a story about

Reuben Gonzolas, who was in the final match

of his first professional racquetball tournament.

He was playing the perennial champion

for his first shot at a victory on the pro

circuit. At match point in the fifth and final

game, Gonzolas made a super "kill shot" into

the front corner to win the tournament. The

referee called it good, and one of the linemen

confirmed the shot was a winner.

But after a moment's hesitation, Gonzolas

turned and declared that his shot had

skipped into the wall, hitting the floor first.

As a result, the serve went to his opponent,

who went on to win the match.

Reuben Gonzolas walked off the court;

everyone was stunned. The next issue of a

leading racquetball magazine featured

Gonzolas on its cover. The lead editorial

searched and questioned for an explanation

for the first ever occurrence on the professional

racquetball circuit. Who could ever

imagine it in any sport or endeavor? Here

was a player with everything officially in his

favor, with victory in his grasp, who disqualifies

himself at match point and loses.

When asked why he did it, Gonzolas

replied, "It was the only thing I could do to

maintain my integrity."

That's Not My Job

This is a story about four people:

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done

and Everybody was sure that Somebody

would do it. Anybody could have done it but

Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about

that, because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought Anybody could do it but

Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do


It ended up that Everybody blamed

Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody

could have done.


Winners and Winners

As a high school coach, I did all I could to

help my boys win their games. I rooted as

hard for victory as they did.

A dramatic incident, however, following a

game in which I officiated

as a referee, changed my

perspective on victories

and defeats. I was refereeing

a league championship

basketball game in New

Rochelle, New York,

between New Rochelle and

Yonkers High.

New Rochelle was

coached by Dan O'Brien,

Yonkers by Les Beck. The

gym was crowded to

capacity, and the volume of

noise made it impossible to

hear. The game was well

played and closely contested.

Yonkers was leading by

one point as I glanced at

the clock and discovered

there were but 30 seconds

left to play.

Yonkers, in possession

of the ball, passed off - shot - missed. New

Rochelle recovered - pushed the ball up court

- shot. The ball rolled tantalizingly around

the rim and off. The fans shrieked.

New Rochelle, the home team, recovered

the ball, and tapped it in for what looked like

victory. The tumult was deafening. I glanced

at the clock and saw that the game was over.

I hadn't heard the final buzzer because of the

noise. I checked with the other official, but

he could not help me.

Still seeking help in this bedlam, I

approached the timekeeper, a young man of

17 or so. He said, "Mr.

Covino, the buzzer went off

as the ball rolled off the

rim, before the final tap-in

was made."

I was in the unenviable

position of having to tell

Coach O'Brien the sad

news. "Dan," I said, "time

ran out before the final

basket was tapped in.

Yonkers won the game."

His face clouded over.

The young timekeeper

came up. He said, "I'm

sorry, Dad. The time ran

out before the final basket."

Suddenly, like the sun

coming out from behind a

cloud, Coach O'Brien's face

lit up. He said, "That's

okay, Joe. You did what you had to do. I'm

proud of you."

Turning to me, he said, "Al, I want you to

meet my son, Joe."

The two of them then walked off the court

together, the coach's arm around his son's


Flame of Love

"I can master it", said the Ax.

His blows fell heavy on the hard, strong


But each blow only made his edge

blunter until he ceased to strike.

"Leave it to me", said the Saw.

With his relentless teeth, he worked

back & forth.

But to his dismay, all of his teeth

were worn out or broken off.

"Ha!" said the Hammer. "I knew you

could not do this.

Let me show you how."

But with the very first blow, his head

flew off, and the steel was unchanged.

"Shall I try?" asked the Flame.

And it curled itself gently around the

strong, hard steel, and embraced it, and

would not let it go.

And the tough steel melted.

There are hearts that are

hard enough to resist:

The forces of wrath,

The fury of pride.

But hard is the heart that

can resist the warm "flame of Love".


Circle of Love!

You know, he almost didn't see the old

lady, stranded on the side of the road.

But even in the dim light of day, he

could see she needed help. So he pulled up

in front of her Mercedes and got out. His

Pontiac was still sputtering when he

approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was

worried. No one had stopped to help for the

last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He

didn't look safe, he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing

out there in the cold. He knew how she


It was that chill which only fear can put in

you. He said, "I'm here to help you ma'am.

Why don't you wait in the car where it's

warm? By the way, my name is Bryan."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an

old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled

under the car looking for a place to put the

jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two.

Soon he was able to change the tire. But he

had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he

was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled

down the window and began to talk to him.

She told him that she was from St. Louis and

was only just passing through. She couldn't

thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk.

She asked him how much she owed him. Any

amount would have been all right with her.

She had already imagined all the awful

things that could have happened had he not


Bryan never thought twice about the

money. This was not a job to him. This was

helping someone in need, and God knows

there were plenty who had given him a hand

in the past. He had lived his whole life that

way, and it never occurred to him to act any

other way. He told her that if she really wanted

to pay him back, the next time she saw

someone who needed help, she could give

that person the assistance that they needed,

and Bryan added "...and think of me".

He waited until she started her car and

drove off. It had been a cold and depressing

day, but he felt good as he headed for home,

disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a

small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat,

and take the chill off before she made the

last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking

restaurant. Outside were two old gas

pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to

her. The cash register was like the telephone

of an out of work actor. It didn't ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a

clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a

sweet smile, one that even being on her feet

for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady

noticed that the waitress was nearly eight

months pregnant, but she never let the

strain and aches change her attitude.

The old lady wondered how someone who

had so little could be so giving to a stranger.

Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, and the

waitress went to get change for her hundred

dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door.

She was gone by the time the waitress came

back. She wondered where the lady could be,

then she noticed something written on the

napkin under which was 4 $100 bills. There

were tears in her eyes when she read what

the lady wrote. It said "You don't owe me

anything, I have been there too. Somebody

once helped me out, the way I'm helping

you. If you really want to pay me back, here

is what you do; Do not let this chain of love

end with you." Well, there were tables to

clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve,

but the waitress made it through another


That night when she got home from work

and climbed into bed, she was thinking about

the money and what the lady had written.

How could the lady have known how much

she and her husband needed it? With the

baby due next month, it was going to be

hard. She knew how worried her husband

was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she

gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and

low, "Everything's

gonna be all right; I

love you, Bryan."


Learn from Mistakes

Thomas Edison tried two thousand different

materials in search of a filament for the

light bulb. When none worked satisfactorily,

his assistant complained, "All our work is in

vain. We have learned nothing."

Edison replied very confidently, "Oh, we

have come a long way and we have learned

a lot. We know that there are two thousand

elements which we cannot use to make a

good light bulb."

The Pig and the Cow

"Why is it," said the rich man to his minister,

"that people call me stingy when everyone

knows that when I die I'm leaving everything

to the church?"

"Let me tell you a fable about the pig and

the cow," said the minister. "The pig was

unpopular while the cow was beloved. This

puzzled the pig. 'People speak warmly of

your gentle nature and your sorrowful eyes,'

the pig said to the cow. 'They think you're

generous because each day you give them

milk and cream. But what about me? I give

them everything I have. I give bacon and

ham. I provide bristles for brushes. They

even pickle my feet! Yet not one likes me.

Why is that?'"

"Do you know what the cow answered?"

said the minister. "The cow said, 'Perhaps it

is because I give while I'm still living.'"

To Tell the Truth

"Who did this?" asked my teacher. Thirty

children tried to think about not only what

they had done, but also what our teacher

may have found out. "Who did this?" asked

my teacher once more. She wasn't really

asking, she was demanding an answer.

She seldom became angry, but she was this

time. She held up a piece of broken glass and

asked, "Who broke this window?"

"Oh, oh," I thought. I was the one who

broke the window. I had not done it intentionally.

It was caused by an errant throw of

a baseball. I was working on my knuckleball.

It needed more work. Why did it have to be

me? It wasn't really my fault. If I admitted

guilt, I would be in a lot of trouble. How

would I be able to pay for a big window like

that? I didn't even get an allowance. "My

father is going to have a fit," I thought. I didn't

want to raise my hand, but some force

much stronger than I was pulled it skyward.

I told the truth. "I did it." I said no more. It

was hard enough saying what I had.

My teacher went to one of our library

shelves and took down a book. She then

began walking towards my desk. I had never

known my teacher to strike a student, but I

feared she was going to start with me and

she was going to use a book for the swatting.

"I know how you like birds," she said as

she stood looking down at my guilt-ridden

face. "Here is that field guide about birds that

you are constantly checking out. It is yours.

It's time we got a new one for the school

anyway. The book is yours and you will not

be punished as long as you remember that I

am not rewarding you for your misdeed, I am

rewarding you for your truthfulness."

The Bear and the Two


Two men were traveling together, when a

bear suddenly met them on their path. One

of them climbed up quickly into a tree and

concealed himself in the branches. The other,

seeing that he must be attacked, fell flat on

the ground, and when the bear came up and

felt him with his snout, and smelt him all

over, he held his breath, and feigned the

appearance of death as much as he could.

The bear soon left him, for it is said he

will not touch a dead body. When he was

quite gone, the other Traveler descended

from the tree, and jocularly

inquired of his friend what it was the

bear had whispered in his ear. "He

gave me this advice," his companion

replied. "Never travel with a friend

who deserts you at the approach of



The Builder

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire.

He told his employer-contractor of his plans

to leave the house building business and live

a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his

extended family. He would miss the paycheck,

but he needed to retire. They could

get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good

worker go and asked if he could build just

one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter

said yes, but in time it was easy to

see that his heart was not in his work. He

resorted to shoddy workmanship and used

inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way

to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and

the builder came to inspect the house, the

contractor handed the front-door key to the

carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my

gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had

only known he was building his own house,

he would have done it all so differently. Now

he had to live in the home he had built none

too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted

way, reacting rather than acting, willing

to put up less than the best. At important

points we do not give the job our best effort.

Then with a shock we look at the situation we

have created and find that we are now living

in the house we have built. If we had realized,

we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think

about your house. Each day you hammer a

nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build

wisely. It is the only life you will ever build.

Even if you live it for only one day more, that

day deserves to be lived graciously and with

dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is

a do-it-yourself project."

Who could say it more clearly? Your life

today is the result of your attitudes and

choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be

the result of your attitudes and the choices

you make today.

Tommy's Essay

Soon Tommy's parents, who had recently

separated, would arrive for a conference on

his failing schoolwork and disruptive behavior.

Neither parent knew that I had summoned

the other.

Tommy, an only child, had always been

happy, cooperative, and an excellent student.

How could I convince his father and

mother that his recent failing grades represented

a brokenhearted child's reaction to

his adored parents' separation and pending


Tommy's mother entered and took one of

the chairs I had placed near my desk. Then

the father arrived. They pointedly ignored

each other.

As I gave a detailed account of Tommy's

behavior and schoolwork, I prayed for the

right words to bring these two together to

help them see what they were doing to their

son. But somehow the words wouldn't come.

Perhaps if they saw one of his smudged,

carelessly done papers.

I found a crumpled, tear-stained sheet

stuffed in the back of his desk. Writing covered

both sides, a single sentence scribbled

over and over.

Silently I smoothed it out and gave it to

Tommy's mother. She read it and then without

a word handed it to her husband. He

frowned. Then his face softened. He studied

the scrawled words for what seemed an eternity.

At last he folded the paper carefully and

reached for his wife's outstretched hand. She

wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled up

at him. My own eyes were brimming, but neither

seemed to notice.

In his own way God had given me the

words to reunite that family. He had guided

me to the sheet of yellow copy paper covered

with the anguished outpouring of a small

boy's troubled heart.

"Dear Mother . . . Dear Daddy . . . I love

you . . . I love you . . . I love you."


The Man Who Had Plenty

Once there was a family that was not rich

and not poor. They lived in Ohio in a small

country house. One night they all sat down

for dinner, and there was a knock at the door.

The father went to the door and opened it.

There stood an old man in tattered

clothes, with ripped pants and missing buttons.

He was carrying a basket full of vegetables.

He asked the family if they wanted

to buy some vegetables from him. They

quickly did because they wanted him to


Over time, the family and the old man

became friends.

The man brought vegetables to the family

every week. They soon found out that he was

almost blind and had cataracts on his eyes.

But he was so friendly that they learned to

look forward to his visits and started to enjoy

his company.

One day as he was delivering the vegetables,

he said, "I had the greatest blessing

yesterday! I found a basket of clothes outside

my house that someone had left for


The family, knowing that he needed

clothes, said, "How wonderful!"

The old blind man said, "The most wonderful

part is that I found a family that really

needed the clothes."

The Acorn Planter

In the 1930s a young traveler was exploring

the French Alps. He came upon a vast

stretch of barren land. It was desolate. It

was forbidding. It was ugly. It was the kind

of place you hurry away from.

Then, suddenly, the young traveler

stopped dead in his tracks. In the middle of

this vast wasteland was a bent-over old man.

On his back was a sack of acorns. In his hand

was a four-foot length of iron pipe.

The man was using the iron pope to punch

holes in the ground. Then from the sack he

would take an acorn and put it in the hole.

Later the old man told the traveler, "I've

planted over 100,000 acorns. Perhaps only a

tenth of them will grow." The old man's wife

and son had died, and this was how he chose

to spend his final years. "I want to do something

useful," he said.

Twenty-five years later the now-not-asyoung

traveler returned to the same desolate

area. What he saw amazed him. He could not

believe his own eyes. The land was covered

with a beautiful forest two miles wide and

five miles long. Birds were singing, animals

were playing, and wild flowers perfumed the


The traveler stood there recalling the desolation

that once was; a beautiful oak forest

stood there now - all because someone




Animals Are Parents Too

I want to let you know about an event that

changed my life many years ago. It is a

memory that periodically comes and goes,

but it is one of the most precious memories

that me and my wife share. I am thankful

that we can remember it together. It's a

reminder that things are not what they seem

and that angels come in many packages.

We live in College Station, Texas and we

were on our way home from Houston, Texas

around the Weston Lakes area one Saturday

or Sunday morning. And when I say morning,

I'm talking 1:00 to 2:00 in the morning.

We were on our way home and decided to

stop at a local gas station to get coffee and

something to snack on since it was a good

hour and a half before we got home.

When we were done, we got back into our

car and before I started it, we noticed a man

standing outside in front of the building. You

could tell that he was a homeless man. His

clothes were tattered and worn and it looked

like he had gone in and gotten him some coffee

or something warm to drink since it was

cold this time of the year. He must have not

had enough money to get something to eat.

That is not something I remember too well,

because that is not what "moved" me.

The next thing I remember is a dog that

walked up to the front of the building. Being

a dog lover, I noticed that she was part wolf

and probably part German shepherd. I could

tell she was a she, because you could tell

that she had been feeding puppies. She was

terribly in need of something to eat and I felt

so bad for her. I knew if she didn't eat soon,

she and her puppies would not make it.

Me and my wife sat there and looked at

her. We noticed that people walked by and

didn't even pet her, like most people do when

they walk by an animal in front of a store.

She might not have been as pretty and clean

as most, but she still deserved better. But we

still did not do anything. But someone did.

The homeless man, who I thought did not

buy himself anything to eat, went back into

the store. And what he did

brought tears to me and my

wife. He had gone into the

store and with what

money he may have had, bought a can of

dog food and fed that dog.

I know that this story isn't as inspirational

as most stories, but it plays a great part in

our lives. You see, that was Mother's Day

weekend. And a lot of people forget that

some animals are parents too. And animals

as well as us are God's creations too.

It would be a better story if I could

remember all the details, but even without

the details, I believe it still gets the message

across. It took a homeless man, to show me

what I should have done. He made me a better

man that day.

The Ass and the Mule

A Muleteer set forth on a journey, driving

before him an Ass and a Mule, both well

laden. The Ass, as long as he traveled along

the plain, carried his load with ease, but

when he began to ascend the steep path of

the mountain, felt his load to be more than

he could bear. He entreated his companion to

relieve him of a small portion that he might

carry home the rest; but the Mule paid no

attention to the request. The Ass shortly

afterwards fell down dead under his burden.

Not knowing what else to do in so wild a

region, the Muleteer placed upon the Mule

the load carried by the Ass in addition to his

own, and at the top of all placed the hide of

the Ass, after he had skinned him. The Mule,

groaning beneath his heavy burden, said to

himself: "I am treated according to my

deserts. If I had only been willing to assist

the Ass a little in his need, I should not now

be bearing, together with his burden, himself

as well."

The Bridge

There was once a bridge which spanned a

large river. During most of the day the bridge

sat with its length running up and down the

river paralleled with the banks, allowing

ships to pass thru freely on both sides of the

bridge. But at certain times each day, a train

would come along and the bridge would be

turned sideways across the river, allowing a

train to cross it.

A switchman sat in a small shack on one

side of the river where he operated the controls

to turn the bridge and lock it into place

as the train crossed. One evening as the

switchman was waiting for the last train of

the day to come; he looked off into the distance

thru the dimming twilight and caught

sight of the train lights. He stepped to the

control and waited until the train was within

a prescribed distance when he was to turn

the bridge. He turned the bridge into position,

but, to his horror, he found the locking

control did not work. If the bridge was not

securely in position it would wobble back and

forth at the ends when the train came onto

it, causing the train to jump the track and go

crashing into the river. This would be a passenger

train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge turned across the river,

and hurried across the bridge to the other

side of the river where there was a lever

switch he could hold to operate the lock manually.

He would have to hold the lever back

firmly as the train crossed. He could hear the

rumble of the train now, and he took hold of

the lever and leaned backward to apply his

weight to it, locking the bridge. He kept

applying the pressure to keep the mechanism

locked. Many lives depended on this

man's strength.

Then, coming across the bridge from the

direction of his control shack, he heard a

sound that made his blood run cold. "Daddy,

where are you?" His four-year-old son was

crossing the bridge to look for him. His first

impulse was to cry out to the child, "Run!

Run!" But the train was too close; the tiny

legs would never make it across the bridge in

time. The man almost left his lever to run

and snatch up his son and carry him to safety.

But he realized that he could not get back

to the lever. Either the people on the train or

his little son must die. He took a moment to

make his decision. The train sped safely and

swiftly on its way, and no one aboard was

even aware of the tiny broken body thrown

mercilessly into the river by the onrushing

train. Nor were they aware of the pitiful figure

of the sobbing man, still clinging tightly

to the locking lever long after the train had


They did not see him walking home more

slowly than he had ever walked: to tell his

wife how their son had brutally died.



The Circus

Once when I was a teenager, my father

and I were standing in line to buy tickets for

the circus. Finally, there was only one family

between us and the ticket counter. This family

made a big impression on me. There were

eight children, all probably under the age of

12. You could tell they didn't have a lot of

money. Their clothes were not expensive, but

they were clean. The children were wellbehaved,

all of them standing in line, two-bytwo

behind their parents, holding hands.

They were excitedly jabbering about the

clowns, elephants and other acts they would

see that night. One could sense they had

never been to the circus before. It promised

to be a highlight of their young lives.

The father and mother were at the head of

the pack standing proud as could be. The

mother was holding her husband's hand,

looking up at him as if to say, "You're my

knight in shining armor." He was smiling and

basking in pride, looking at her as if to reply,

"You got that right."

The ticket lady asked the father how many

tickets he wanted. He proudly responded,

"Please let me buy eight children's tickets

and two adult tickets so I can take my family

to the circus."

The ticket lady quoted the price.

The man's wife let go of his hand, her

head dropped, the man's lip began to quiver.

The father leaned a little closer and asked,

"How much did you say?"

The ticket lady again quoted the price.

The man didn't have enough money.

How was he supposed to turn and tell his

eight kids that he didn't have enough money

to take them to the circus?

Seeing what was going on, my dad put his

hand into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and

dropped it on the ground. (We were not

wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father

reached down, picked up the bill, tapped the

man on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me,

sir, and this fell out of your pocket."

The man knew what was going on. He

wasn't begging for a handout but certainly

appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking,

embarrassing situation. He looked

straight into my dad's eyes, took my dad's

hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the

$20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear

streaming down his cheek, he replied,

"Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means

a lot to me and my family."

My father and I went back to our car and

drove home. We didn't go to the circus that

night, but we didn't go without.

The Fire

A couple, whom we shall call John and

Mary, had a nice home and two lovely children,

a boy and a girl. John had a good job

and had just been asked to go on a business

trip to another city and would be gone for

several days. It was decided that Mary needed

an outing and would go along too. They

hired a reliable woman to care for the children

and made the trip, returning home a little

earlier than they had planned.

As they drove into their home town feeling

glad to be back, they noticed smoke, and

they went off their usual route to see what it

was. They found a home in flames. Mary

said, "Oh well it isn't our fire, let's go home."

But John drove closer and exclaimed,

"That home belongs to Fred Jones who works

at the plant. He wouldn't be off work yet,

maybe there is something we could do." "It

has nothing to do with us." Protested Mary.

"You have your good clothes on lets not get

any closer."

But John drove up and stopped and they

were both horror stricken to see the whole

house in flames. A woman on the lawn was

in hysterics screaming, "The children! Get

the children!" John grabbed her by the shoulder

saying, "Get a hold of yourself and tell us

where the children are!" "In the basement,"

sobbed the woman, "down the hall and to the


In spite of Mary's protests John grabbed

the water hose and soaked his clothes, put

his wet handkerchief on his head and bolted

for the basement which was full of smoke

and scorching hot. He found the door and

grabbed two children, holding one under

each arm like the football player he was. As

he left he could hear some more whimpering.

He delivered the two badly frightened and

nearly suffocated children into waiting arms

and filled his lungs with fresh air and started

back asking how many more children were

down there. They told him two more and

Mary grabbed his arm and screamed, "John!

Don't go back! It's suicide! That house will

cave in any second!"

But he shook her off and went back by

feeling his way down the smoke filled hallway

and into the room. It seemed an eternity

before he found both children and started

back. They were all three coughing and he

stooped low to get what available air he

could. As he stumbled up the endless steps

the thought went through his mind that there

was something strangely familiar about the

little bodies clinging to him, and at last when

they came out into the sunlight and fresh air,

he found that he had just rescued his own


The baby-sitter had left them at this home

while she did some shopping.


We make a living by what we get,

We make a life by what we give.

Winston Churchill


God's Power in Action

God has a way of allowing us to

be in the right place at the right


I was walking down a dimly lit

street late one evening when I

heard muffled screams coming

from behind a clump of bushes.

Alarmed, I slowed down to listen,

and panicked when I realized that

what I was hearing were the

unmistakable sounds of a struggle:

heavy grunting, frantic scuffling,

and tearing of fabric.

Only yards from where I stood,

a woman was being attacked. Should I get

involved? I was frightened for my own safety,

and cursed myself for having suddenly

decided to take a new route home that night.

What if I became another statistic? Shouldn't

I just run to the nearest phone and call the


Although it seemed an eternity, the deliberations

in my head had taken only seconds,

but already the girl's cries were growing

weaker. I knew I had to act fast. How could I

walk away from this? No, I finally resolved, I

could not turn my back on the fate of this

unknown woman, even if it meant risking my

own life.

I am not a brave man, nor am I athletic. I

don't know where I found the moral courage

and physical strength -- but once I had finally

resolved to help the girl, I became

strangely transformed. I ran behind the

bushes and pulled the assailant off the

woman. Grappling, we fell to the ground,

where we wrestled for a few minutes until

the attacker jumped up and escaped.

Panting hard, I scrambled upright and

approached the girl, who was crouched

behind a tree, sobbing. In the darkness, I

could barely see her outline, but I could certainly

sense her trembling shock. Not wanting

to frighten her further, I at first spoke to

her from a distance. "It's okay," I said soothingly.

"The man ran away. You're safe now."

There was a long pause and then I heard the

words, uttered in wonder, in amazement.

"Dad, is that you?" And then, from behind

the tree, out stepped my youngest daughter,


He Needed Me

A nurse escorted a tired, anxious young

man to the bed side of an elderly man. "Your

son is here," she whispered to the patient.

She had to repeat the words several times

before the patient's eyes opened. He was

heavily sedated because of the pain of his

heart attack and he dimly saw the young

man standing outside the oxygen tent.

He reached out his hand and the young

man tightly wrapped his fingers around it,

squeezing a message of encouragement. The

nurse brought a chair next to the bedside. All

through the night the young man sat holding

the old mans hand, and offering gentle words

of hope. The dying man said nothing as he

held tightly to his son.

As dawn approached, the patient died.

The young man placed on the bed the lifeless

hand he had been holding, and then he went

to notify the nurse.

While the nurse did what was necessary,

the young man waited. When she had finished

her task, the nurse began to say words

of sympathy to the young man.

But he interrupted her. "Who was that

man?" He asked.

The startled nurse replied, "I thought he

was your father."

"No, he was not my father," he answered.

"I never saw him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when

I took you to him?" asked the nurse.

He replied, "I also knew he needed his

son, and his son just wasn't here. When I

realized he was too sick to tell whether or not

I was his son, I knew how much he needed



Just a Little Smile

Mark was walking home from school one

day when he noticed the boy ahead of him

had tripped and dropped all of the books he

was carrying, along with two sweaters, a

baseball bat, a glove and a small tape

recorder. Mark knelt down and helped the

boy pick up the scattered articles. Since they

were going the same way, he helped to carry

part of the burden. As they walked Mark discovered

the boy's name was Bill, that he

loved video games, baseball and history, and

that he was having lots of trouble with his

other subjects and that he had just broken

up with his girlfriend.

They arrived at Bill's home first and Mark

was invited in for a Coke and to watch some

television. The afternoon passed pleasantly

with a few laughs and some shared small

talk, then Mark went home. They continued

to see each other around school, had lunch

together once or twice, then both graduated

from junior high school. They ended up in the

same high school where they had brief contacts

over the years. Finally the long awaited

senior year came and three weeks before

graduation, Bill asked Mark if they could talk.

Bill reminded him of the day years ago

when they had first met. "Did you ever wonder

why I was carrying so many things home

that day?" asked Bill. "You see, I cleaned out

my locker because I didn't want to leave

a mess for anyone else. I had

stored away some

of my mother's

sleeping pills and I

was going home to

commit suicide. But

after we spent some

time together talking

and laughing, I realized

that if I had killed

myself, I would have

missed that time and so

many others that might

follow. So you see, Mark,

when you picked up those

books that day, you did a

lot more. You saved my


Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African

American woman was standing on the side of

an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing

rain storm.

Her car had broken down and she desperately

needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided

to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her,

generally unheard of in those conflict-filled

1960s. The man took her to safety, helped

her get assistance and put her into a taxi

cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry. She

wrote down his address, thanked him, and

drove away.

Seven days went by and a knock came on

the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console

color TV was delivered to his home. A

special note was attached. It read:

Thank you so much for assisting me on

the highway the other night. The rain

drenched not only my clothes but my spirits.

Then you came along. Because of you, I was

able to make it to my dying husband's bedside

just before he passed away. God bless

you for helping me and unselfishly serving


Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.


A Pillow And a Blanket

A long time ago, a young, wealthy girl was

getting ready for bed. She was saying her

prayers when she heard a muffled crying

coming through her window. A little frightened,

she went over to the window and

leaned out. Another girl, who seemed to be

about her age and homeless, was standing in

the alley by the rich girls house. Her heart

went out to the homeless girl, for it was the

dead of winter, and the girl had no blanket,

only old newspapers someone had thrown


The rich girl was suddenly struck with a

brilliant idea. She called to the other girl and

said, "You there, come to my front door,


The homeless girl was so startled she

could only manage to nod.

As quick as her legs could take her, the

young girl ran down the hall to her mothers

closet, and picked out an old quilt and a beat

up pillow. She had to walk slower down to

the front door as to not trip over the quilt

which was hanging down, but she made it

eventually. Dropping both the articles, she

opened the door. Standing there was the

homeless girl, looking quite scared. The rich

girl smiled warmly and handed both articles

to the other girl. Her smile grew wider as she

watched the true amazement and happiness

alight upon the other girl's face. She went to

bed incredibly satisfied.

In mid-morning the next day a knock

came to the door. The rich girl flew to the

door hoping that it was the other little girl

there. She opened the large door and looked

outside. It was the other little girl. Her face

looked happy, and she smiled. "I suppose

you want these back."

The rich little girl opened her mouth to say

that she could keep them when another idea

popped into her head. "No, I want them


The homeless girl's face fell. This was

obviously not the answer she had hoped for.

She reluctantly laid down the beat up things,

and turned to leave when the rich girl yelled,

"Wait! Stay right there." She turned in time

to see the rich girl running up the stairs and

down a long corridor. Deciding whatever the

rich little girl was doing wasn't worth waiting

for she started to turn around and walk away.

As her foot hit the first step, she felt someone

tap her on the shoulder, turning she saw

the rich little girl, thrusting a new blanket

and pillow at her. "Have these." she said quietly.

These were her personal belonging made

of silk and down feathers.

As the two grew older they didn't see each

other much, but they were never far from

each other's minds. One day, the Rich girl,

who was now a Rich woman got a telephone

call from someone. A lawyer, saying that she

was requested to see him. When she arrived

at the office, he told her what had happened.

Forty years ago, when she was nine years

old, she had helped a little girl in need. That

grew into a middle-class woman with a husband

and two children. She had recently died

and left something for her in her will.

"Though," the lawyer said, "it's the most

peculiar thing. She left you a pillow and a




His mother told us the

story the day after.

Kenneth was in junior

high school and was excited

and eager about participating

in a day of

Special Olympics events.

While his parents watched

expectantly from the

stands, he ran and won

the first race. He was

proud of his ribbon and

the cheers from the


He ran in the second

race. Just at the finish

line, when he again would

have won, he stopped,

then stepped off the track. His parents gently

questioned him. "Why did you do that,

Kenneth? If you had continued running, you

would have won another race."

Kenneth innocently replied, "But, Mom, I

already have a ribbon. Billy didn't have a ribbon


Weakness or Strength?

Sometimes your biggest weakness can

become your biggest strength. Take, for

example, the story of one 10-year-old boy

who decided to study judo despite the fact

that he had lost his left arm in a devastating

car accident.

The boy began lessons with an old

Japanese judo master. The boy was doing

well, so he couldn't understand why, after

three months of training the master had

taught him only one move.

"Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I

be learning more moves?"

"This is the only move you know, but this

is the only move you'll ever need to know,"

the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding,

but believing in

his teacher, the

boy kept


Several months later, the sensei took the

boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself,

the boy easily won his first two matches.

The third match proved to be more difficult,

but after some time, his opponent

became impatient and charged; the boy deftly

used his one move to win the match. Still

amazed by his success, the boy was now in

the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger,

stronger, and more experienced. For a while,

the boy appeared to be overmatched.

Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the

referee called a time-out. He was about to

stop the match when the sensei intervened.

"No," the sensei insisted, "Let him continue."

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent

made a critical mistake: he dropped his

guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to

pin him. The boy had won the match and the

tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and sensei

reviewed every move in each and every

match. Then the boy summoned the courage

to ask what was really on his mind.

"Sensei, how did I win the tournament

with only one move?"

"You won for two reasons," the sensei

answered. "First, you've almost mastered

one of the most difficult throws in all of judo.

And second, the only known defense for that

move is for your opponent to grab your left


The boy's biggest weakness had become

his biggest strength.



Dig a Little Deeper

There's a story about the California gold

rush that tells of two brothers who sold all

they had and went prospecting for gold. They

discovered a vein of the shining ore, staked

a claim, and proceeded to get down to the

serious business of getting the gold ore out

of the mine. All went well at first, but then a

strange thing happened. The vein of gold ore

disappeared! They had come to the end of

the rainbow, and the pot of gold was no

longer there. The brothers continued to pick

away, but without success. Finally, they gave

up in disgust.

They sold their equipment and claim

rights for a few hundred dollars, and took the

train back home. Now the man who bought

the claim hired an engineer to examine the

rock strata of the mine. The engineer advised

him to continue digging in the same spot

where the former owners had left off. And

three feet deeper, the new owner struck gold.

A little more persistence and the two

brothers would have been millionaires themselves.

That's gold in you too. Do you need

to dig three feet farther?

Don't Give Up

Walt Disney was turned down 302 times

before he got financing for his dream of creating

the "Happiest Place on Earth". Today,

due to his persistence, millions of people

have shared 'the joy of Disney'. Colonel

Sanders spent two years driving across the

United States looking for restaurants to buy

his chicken recipe. He was turned down

1,009 times! How successful is Kentucky

Fried Chicken today?

Having said this, keep in mind that you

must constantly reevaluate your circumstances

and the approach you are using to

reach your goal. There is no sense in being

persistent at something that you are doing

incorrectly! Sometimes you have to modify

your approach along the way. Every time you

do something you learn from it, and therefore

find a better way to do it the next time.

Never Give Up!

There was this museum laid with beautiful

marble tiles, with a huge marble statue displayed

in the middle of the lobby. Many people

came from all over the world just to

admire this beautiful marble statue.

One night, the marble tiles started talking

to the marble statue. Marble tile: "Marble

statue, it's just not fair, it's just not fair! why

does everybody from all over the world come

all the way here just to step on me while

admiring you? Not fair!".

Marble statue: "My dear friend, marble

tile. Do you still remember that we were

actually from the same cave?"

Marble tile: "Yeah! That's why I feel it is

even more unfair. We were born from the

same cave and yet we receive different treatment

now. Not fair!" he cried again.

Marble statue: "Then, do you still remember

the day when the designer tried to work

on you, but you resisted the tools?"

Marble tile: "Yes, of course I remember. I

hate that guy! How could he use those tools

on me, it hurt so badly.".

Marble statue: "That's right! He couldn't

work on you at all as you resisted being

worked on."

Marble tile: "So???"

Marble statue: "When he decided to

give up on you and start working on me

instead, I knew at once that I would be

something different after his efforts. I did

not resist his tools, instead I bore all the

painful tools he used on me.."

Marble tile: "Mmmmmm......."

Marble statue: "My friend, there is a

price to everything in life. Since you

decided to give up half way, you can't

blame anybody who steps on you now."

Keep On, Keeping On

Colonel Sanders went to more than 1,000

places trying to sell his chicken recipe before

he found an interested

buyer. The fact that we can

buy Kentucky Fried Chicken

today attests to his perseverance.

Thomas Edison

tried almost 10,000 times

before he succeeded in creating

the electric light. If he

had given up, you would be

reading this in the dark!

The original business plan

for what was to become

Federal Express was given a

failing grade on Fred Smith's

college exam. And, in the

early days, their employees

would cash their pay checks

at retail stores, rather than

banks. This meant it would

take longer for the money to

clear, thereby giving Fed Ex more time to

cover their payroll.

Sylvester Stallone had been turned down

a thousand times by agents and was down to

his last $600 before he found a company that

would produce Rocky. The rest is history! To

truly succeed requires a total commitment to

your goal. Too many people make the mistake

of quitting just short of success. Keep

going no matter what. If you really believe in

what you are doing, give it all you've got and

don't give up.

You will succeed. There is

no such thing as failure.

Every action produces an

outcome. It may not always

be the outcome you are

looking for, but it is an outcome

nonetheless. If you

monitor the results of your

actions and keep correcting

what is not working, you will

eventually produce the outcome

you are looking for.

Be Persistent - Ray Kroc,

the late founder of

McDonalds, put it best when

he said: "Nothing in this

world can take the place of

persistence. Talent will not;

nothing is more common

than unsuccessful men with great talent.

Genius will not. Un-rewarded genius is

almost a proverb. Education will not. The

world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence, determination and love are


Don't quit before the miracle happens!

The Chicken

Once upon a time, there was a large

mountainside, where an eagle's nest rested.

The eagle's nest contained four large eagle

eggs. One day an earthquake rocked the

mountain causing one of the eggs to roll

down the mountain, to a chicken farm, located

in the valley below. The chickens knew

that they must protect and care for the

eagle's egg, so an old hen volunteered to

nurture and raise the large egg.

One day, the egg hatched and a beautiful

eagle was born. Sadly, however, the eagle

was raised to be a chicken. Soon, the eagle

believed he was nothing more than a chicken.

The eagle loved his home and family, but

his spirit cried out for more. While playing a

game on the farm one day, the eagle looked

to the skies above and noticed a group of

mighty eagles soaring in the skies. "Oh," the

eagle cried, "I wish I could soar like those

birds." The chickens roared with laughter,

"You cannot soar with those birds. You are a

chicken and chickens do not soar."

The eagle continued staring, at his real

family up above, dreaming that he could be

with them. Each time the eagle would let his

dreams be known, he was told it couldn't be

done. That is what the eagle learned to

believe. The eagle, after time, stopped

dreaming and continued to live his life like a

chicken. Finally, after a long life as a chicken,

the eagle passed away.

The moral of the story: You become what

you believe you are; so if you ever dream to

become an eagle follow your dreams, not the

words of a chicken.



I Can Make It Happen

History abounds with tales of

experts who were convinced that

the ideas, plans, and projects of

others could never be achieved.

However, accomplishment came to

those who said, "I can make it happen."

The Italian sculptor Agostino

d'Antonio worked diligently on a

large piece of marble. Unable to

produce his desired masterpiece,

he lamented, "I can do nothing with

it." Other sculptors also worked this

difficult piece of marble, but to no

avail. Michelangelo discovered the

stone and visualized the possibilities in it. His

"I-can-make-it-happen" attitude resulted in

one of the world's masterpieces - David.

The experts of Spain concluded that

Columbus's plans to discover a new and

shorter route to the West Indies was virtually

impossible. Queen Isabella and King

Ferdinand ignored the report of the experts.

"I can make it happen," Columbus persisted.

And he did. Everyone knew the world was

flat, but not Columbus. The Nina, the Pinta,

the Santa Maria, along with Columbus and

his small band of followers, sailed to "impossible"

new lands and thriving resources.

Even the great Thomas Alva Edison discouraged

his friend, Henry Ford, from pursuing

his fledgling idea of a motorcar.

Convinced of the worthlessness of the idea,

Edison invited Ford to come and work for

him. Ford remained committed and tirelessly

pursued his dream. Although his first

attempt resulted in a vehicle without reverse

gear, Henry Ford knew he could make it happen.

And, of course, he did.

"Forget it," the experts advised Madame

Curie. They agreed radium was a scientifically

impossible idea. However, Marie Curie

insisted, "I can make it happen."

Let's not forget our friends Orville and

Wilbur Wright. Journalists, friends, armed

forces specialists, and even their father

laughed at the idea of an airplane. "What a

silly and insane way to spend money. Leave

flying to the birds," they jeered. "Sorry," the

Wright brothers responded. "We have a

dream, and we can make it happen." As a

result, a place called Kitty Hawk, North

Carolina, became the setting for the launching

of their "ridiculous" idea.

Finally, as you read these accounts under

the magnificent lighting of your environment,

consider the plight of Benjamin Franklin. He

was admonished to stop the foolish experimenting

with lighting. What an absurdity and

waste of time! Why, nothing could outdo the

fabulous oil lamp. Thank goodness Franklin

knew he could make it happen. You too can

make it happen!

The Mental Chain

Most people are like the circus elephant.

Have you ever seen a giant elephant in an

indoor arena tied to a little wooden stake.

That huge creature can pick up two thousand

pounds with its trunk, yet it calmly stays

tied. Why?

When that elephant was just a baby, and

not very strong, it was tied by a huge chain

to an iron stake that could not be moved.

Regardless of how hard it tried, it could not

break the chain and run free. After a while it

just gave up. Later, when it is strong, it never

attempts to break free. The "imprint" is permanent.

"I can't! I can't!' it says.

There are millions of people who behave

like this creature of the circus. They have

been bound, tied and told "You'll never make

it," so many times they finally call it quits.

The may have dreams, but the "imprinting"

keeps pulling them back.

Today, eliminate the source of your limitations.

When you mentally break free, the

boundaries will be removed from your future.


Once upon a time a very

strong woodcutter asked for a

job in a timber merchant, and

he got it. The paid was really

good and so were the work

conditions. For that reason, the

woodcutter was determined to

do his best.

His boss gave him an axe

and showed him the area

where he was supposed to


The first day, the woodcutter

brought 18 trees

"Congratulations," the boss

said. "Go on that way!"

Very motivated for the

boss's words, the woodcutter

tried harder the next day, but he only could

bring 15 trees. The third day he tried even

harder, but he only could bring 10 trees. Day

after day he was bringing less and less trees.

"I must be losing my strength", the woodcutter

thought. He went to the boss and

apologized, saying that he could not understand

what was going on.

"When was the last time you sharpened

your axe?" the boss asked.

"Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my

axe. I have been very busy trying to cut



What You Want to Be

Let me tell you about a little girl who was

born into a very poor family in a shack in the

Backwoods of Tennessee. She was the 20th

of 22 children, prematurely born and frail.

Her survival was doubtful. When she was

four years old she had double pneumonia

and scarlet fever - a deadly combination that

left her with a paralyzed and useless left leg.

She had to wear an iron leg brace. Yet she

was fortunate in having a mother who

encouraged her.

Well, this mother told her little girl, who

was very bright, that despite the brace and

leg, she could do whatever she wanted to do

with her life. She told her that all she needed

to do was to have faith, persistence,

courage and indomitable spirit.

So at nine years of age, the little girl

removed the leg brace, and she took the step

the doctors told her she would

never take normally. In four

years, she developed a rhythmic stride,

which was a medical wonder. Then this girl

got the notion, the incredible notion that she

would like to be the world's greatest woman

runner. Now, what could she mean - be a

runner with a leg like that?

At age 13, she entered a race. She came

in last - way, way last. She entered every

race in high school, and in every race she

came in last. Everyone begged her quit!

However, one day, she came in next to last.

And then there came a day when she won a

race. From then on, Wilma Rudolph won

every race that she entered.

Wilma went to Tennessee State University,

where she met a coach named Ed Temple.

Coach Temple saw the indomitable spirit of

the girl, that she was a believer and that she

had great natural talent. He trained her so

well that she went to the Olympic Games.

There she was pitted against the greatest

woman runner of the day, a German girl

named Jutta Heine. Nobody had ever beaten

Jutta. But in the 100-meter dash, Wilma

Rudolph won. She beat Jutta again in the

200-meters. Now Wilma had two Olympic

gold medals.

Finally came the 400-meter relay. It would

be Wilma against Jutta once again. The first

two runners on Wilma's team made perfect

handoffs with the baton. But when the third

runner handed the baton to Wilma, she was

so excited she dropped it, and Wilma saw

Jutta taking off down the track. It was impossible

that anybody could catch this fleet and

nimble girl. But Wilma did just that! Wilma

Rudolph had earned three Olympic gold



Time Management Parable

One day, an expert in time management

was speaking to a group of business students

and, to drive home a point, used an illustration

those students will never forget.

As he stood in front of the group of highpowered

overachievers he said,

"Okay, time for a quiz" and he pulled out

a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set

it on the table in front of him. He also produced

about a dozen fist-sized rocks and

carefully placed them, one at a time, into the


When the jar was filled to the top and no

more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this

jar full?" Everyone in the class yelled, "Yes."

The time management expert replied,

"Really?" He

reached under

the table and

pulled out a

bucket of gravel.

He dumped

some gravel in

and shook the

jar causing

pieces of gravel

to work themselves


into the spaces

between the

big rocks. He

then asked the

group once

more, "Is the

jar full?"

By this time

the class was on to him. "Probably not," one

of them answered.

"Good!" he replied. He reached under the

table and brought out a bucket of sand. He

started dumping the sand in the jar and it

went into all of the spaces left between the

rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked

the question, "Is this jar full?" "No!" the class


Once again he said, "Good." Then he

grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour

it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then

he looked at the class and asked, "What is

the point of this illustration?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and

said, "The point is, no matter how full your

schedule is, if you try really hard you can

always fit some more things in it!"

"No," the speaker replied, "that's not the

point. The truth this illustration teaches us

is: If you don't put the big rocks in first,

you'll never get them in at all."

What are

the 'big rocks'

in your life,

time with your

loved ones,

your faith,

your education,


dreams, a

worthy cause,

teaching or

m e n t o r i n g

o t h e r s ?

Remember to

put these big

rocks in first

or you'll never

get them in at

all. So,

tonight, or in

the morning, when you are reflecting on this

short story, ask yourself this question: What

are the 'big rocks' in my life? Then, put those

in your jar first.


Sparky - Charlie


A story is told about a boy

named Sparky. For Sparky

school was all but impossible.

He failed every subject in the

eighth grade. He flunked

physics in high school.

Receiving a flat zero in the

course, he distinguished himself

as the worst physics student

in the school's history.

Sparky also flunked Latin,

algebra and English. He didn't

do much better in sports.

Although he did manage to

make the school's golf team,

he promptly lost the only important match of

the season. There was a consolation match;

he lost that, too.

Throughout his youth Sparky was awkward

socially. He was not actually disliked by

the other students; no one cared that much.

He was astonished if a classmate ever said

hello to him outside of school hours. There's

no way to tell how he might have done at

dating. Sparky never once asked a girl to go

out in high school. He was too afraid of being

turned down.

Sparky was a loser. He, his classmates...

everyone knew it. So he rolled with it. Sparky

had made up his mind early in life that if

things were meant to work out, they would.

Otherwise he would content himself with

what appeared to be his inevitable mediocrity.

However, one thing was important to

Sparky - drawing. He was proud of his artwork.

Of course, no one else appreciated it.

In his senior year of high school, he submitted

some cartoons to the editors of the yearbook.

They were turned down. Despite this

particularly painful rejection, Sparky was so

convinced of his ability that he decided to

become a professional artist.

Upon graduating from high school, he

wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He was

told to send some samples of his artwork,

and the subject matter for a cartoon was

suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon.

He spent a great deal of time on it and

on all the other drawings he submitted.

Finally the reply came from Disney Studios;

he had been rejected once again. Another

loss for the loser.

So Sparky decided to write his own autobiography

in cartoons. He described his

childhood self - a little-boy loser and chronic

underachiever. The cartoon character would

soon become famous worldwide. For Sparky,

the boy who had failed every subject in the

eight grade and whose work was rejected

again and again, was Charles Schulz. He created

the "Peanuts" comic strip and the little

cartoons boy whose kite would never fly and

who never succeeded in kicking the football -

Charlie Brown.


The Ants and the


The Ants were spending a fine winter's

day drying grain collected in the

summertime. A Grasshopper, perishing

with famine, passed by and

earnestly begged for a little food. The

Ants inquired of him, "Why did you

not treasure up food during the summer?'

He replied, "I had not leisure

enough. I passed the days in singing."

They then said in derision: "If you

were foolish enough to sing all the

summer, you must dance supperless

to bed in the winter."


The Rebellion Against the


Once a man had a dream in which his

hands and feet and mouth and brain all

began to rebel against his stomach.

"You good-for-nothing sluggard!" the

hands said. "We work all day long, sawing

and hammering and lifting and carrying. By

evening we're covered with blisters and

scratches, and our joints ache, and we're

covered with dirt. And meanwhile you just sit

there, hogging all the food."

"We agree!" cried the feet. "Think how

sore we get, walking back and forth all day

long. And you just stuff yourself full, you

greedy pig, so that you're that much heavier

to carry about."

"That's right!" whined the mouth. "Where

do you think all that food you love comes

form? I'm the one who has to chew it all up,

and as soon as I'm finished you suck it all

down for yourself. Do you call that fair?"

"And what about me?" called the brain.

"Do you think it's easy being up here, having

to think about where your next meal is going

to come from? And yet I get nothing at all for

my pains."

And one by one the parts of the body

joined the complaint against the stomach,

which didn't say anything at all.

"I have an idea," the brain finally

announced. "Let's all rebel against the lazy

belly, and stop working for it."

"Superb idea!" all the other members and

organs agreed. "We'll teach you how important

we are, you pig. Then maybe you'll do a

little work of your own."

So they all stopped working. The hands

refused to do lifting and carrying. The feet

refused to walk. The mouth promised not to

chew or swallow a single bite. And the brain

swore it wouldn't come up with any more

bright ideas. At first the stomach growled a

bit, as it always did when it was hungry. But

after a while it was quiet.

Then, to the dreaming man's surprise, he

found he could not walk. He could not grasp

anything in his hand. He could not even open

his mouth. And he suddenly began to feel

rather ill.

The dream seemed to go on for several

days. As each day passed, the man felt

worse and worse. "This rebellion had better

not last much longer," he thought to himself,

"or I'll starve."

Meanwhile, the hands and feet and mouth

and brain just lay there, getting weaker and

weaker. At first they roused themselves just

enough to taunt the stomach every once in a

while, but before long they didn't even have

the energy for that.

Finally the man heard a faint voice coming

from the direction of his feet.

"It could be that we were wrong," they

were saying. "We suppose the stomach

might have been working in his own way all


"I was just thinking the same thing," murmured

the brain. "It's true that he's been

getting all the food. But it seems he's been

sending most of it right back to us."

"We might as well admit our error," the

mouth said. "The stomach has

just as much work to do as the

hands and feet and brain and


"Then let's get back to work,"

they cried together. And at that

the man woke up.

To his relief, he discovered

his feet could walk again. His

hands could grasp, his mouth

could chew, and his brain could

now think clearly. He began to

feel much better.

"Well, there's a lesson for

me," he thought as he filled his

stomach at breakfast. "Either

we all work together, or nothing

works at all."

Blurred Vision

A businessman was highly critical of his

competitors' storefront windows. "Why, they

are the dirtiest windows in town," he

claimed. Fellow business people grew tired of

the man's continual criticism and nitpicking

comments about the windows. One day over

coffee, the businessman carried the subject

just too far.

Before leaving, a fellow store owner suggested

the man get his own windows

washed. He followed the advice, and the next

day at coffee, he exclaimed, "I can't believe

it. As soon as I washed my windows, my

competitor must have cleaned his too. You

should see them shine."

Confucius once declared, "Don't complain

about the snow on your neighbor's roof when

your own doorstep is unclean."

Don't Change the World

Once upon a time, there was a king who

ruled a prosperous country. One day, he went

for a trip to some distant areas of his country.

When he was back to his palace, he complained

that his feet were very painful,

because it was the first time that he went for

such a long trip, and the road that he went

through was very rough and stony. He then

ordered his people to cover every road of the

entire country with leather. Definitely, this

would need thousands of cows' skin, and

would cost a huge amount of money.

Then one of his wise servants dared himself

to tell the king, "Why do you have to

spend that unnecessary amount of money?

Why don't you just cut a little piece of leather

to cover your feet?"

The king was surprised, but he later

agreed to his suggestion, to make a "shoe"

for himself.

There is actually a valuable lesson of life in

this story: to make this world a happy place

to live, you better change yourself - your

heart; and not the world.

The Father and his sons

A father had a family of sons who were

perpetually quarreling among themselves.

When he failed to heal their disputes by his

exhortations, he determined to give them a

practical illustration of the evils of disunion;

and for this purpose he one day told them to

bring him a bundle of sticks. When they had

done so, he placed the faggot into the hands

of each of them in succession, and ordered

them to break it in pieces. They tried with all

their strength, and were not able to do it. He

next opened the faggot, took the

sticks separately, one by one, and

again put them into his sons' hands, upon

which they broke them easily. He then

addressed them in these words: "My sons, if

you are of one mind, and unite to assist each

other, you will be as this faggot, uninjured by

all the attempts of your enemies; but if you

are divided among yourselves, you will be

broken as easily as these sticks."

The House of 1000 Mirrors

Long ago in a small, far away village,

there was place known as the House of 1000

Mirrors. A small, happy little dog learned of

this place and decided to visit. When he

arrived, he bounced happily up the stairs to

the doorway of the house. He looked through

the doorway with his ears lifted high and his

tail wagging as fast as it could. To his great

surprise, he found himself staring at 1000

other happy little dogs with their tails wagging

just as fast as his. He smiled a great

smile, and was answered with 1000 great

smiles just as warm and friendly. As he left

the House, he thought to himself, "This is a

wonderful place. I will come back and visit it


In this same village, another little dog,

who was not quite as happy as the first one,

decided to visit the house. He slowly climbed

the stairs and hung his head low as he looked

into the door. When he saw the 1000

unfriendly looking dogs staring back at him,

he growled at them and was horrified to see

1000 little dogs growling back at him. As he

left, he thought to himself, "That is a horrible

place, and I will never go back there again."

All the faces in the world are mirrors.

What kind of reflections do you see in the

faces of the people you meet?



Abraham Lincoln Didn't Quit

Probably the greatest example of persistence

is Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn

about somebody who didn't quit, look no further.

Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced

with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight

elections, twice failed in business and suffered

a nervous breakdown. He could have

quit many times - but he didn't and because

he didn't quit, he became one of the greatest

presidents in the history of our country.

Lincoln was a champion and he never gave


Here is a sketch of Lincoln's road to the

White House:

1816: His family was forced out of their

home. He had to work to support them.

1818: His mother died.

1831: Failed in business.

1832: Ran for state legislature - lost.

1832: Also lost his job - wanted to go to

law school but couldn't get in.

1833: Borrowed some money from a

friend to begin a business and by the end of

the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next

17 years of his life paying off this debt.

1834: Ran for state legislature again -


1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart

died and his heart was broken.

1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and

was in bed for six months.

1838: Sought to become speaker of the

state legislature - defeated.

1840: Sought to become elector - defeated.

1843: Ran for Congress

- lost.

1846: Ran for Congress

again - this time he won -

went to Washington and did

a good job.

1848: Ran for re-election

to Congress - lost.

1849: Sought the job of

land officer in his home state -


1854: Ran for Senate of the

United States - lost.

1856: Sought the Vice-

Presidential nomination at his

party's national convention - got

less than 100 votes.

1858: Ran for U.S. Senate

again - again he lost.

1860: Elected president of the

United States.

Great Value in Disaster

Thomas Edison's laboratory was virtually

destroyed by fire in December 1914.

Although the damage exceeded $2 million,

the buildings were only insured for $238,000

because they were made of concrete and

thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison's

life's work went up in spectacular flames that

December night.

At the height of the fire, Edison's 24-yearold

son, Charles, frantically searched for his

father among the smoke and debris. He finally

found him, calmly watching the scene, his

face glowing in the reflection, his white hair

blowing in the wind.

"My heart ached for him," said Charles.

"He was 67-no longer a young man-and

everything was going up in flames. When he

saw me, he shouted, 'Charles, where's your

mother?' When I told him I didn't know, he

said, 'Find her. Bring her here. She will never

see anything like this as long as she lives.'"

The next morning, Edison looked at the

ruins and said, "There is great value in disaster.

All our mistakes are burned up. Thank

God we can start a new." Three weeks after

the fire Edison managed to deliver his first



Bag Lady

She used to sleep in the Fifth Street Post

Office. I could smell her before I rounded the

entrance to where she slept, standing up, by

the public phones. I smelled the urine that

seeped through the layers of her dirty clothing

and the decay from her nearly toothless

mouth. If she was not asleep, she mumbled


Now they close the post office at six to

keep the homeless out, so she curls up on

the sidewalk, talking to herself, her mouth

flapping open as though unhinged, her

smells diminished by the soft breeze.

One Thanksgiving we had so much food

left over, I packed it up, excused myself from

the others and drove over to Fifth Street.

It was a frigid night. Leaves were swirling

around the streets and hardly anyone was

out, all but a few of the luckless in some

warm home or shelter. But I knew I would

find her.

She was dressed as she always was, even

in summer: The warm woolly layers concealing

her old, bent body. Her bony hands

clutched the precious shopping cart. She was

squatting against a wire fence in front of the

playground next to the post office. "Why didn't

she choose some place more protected

from the wind?" I thought, and assumed she

was so crazy she did not have the sense to

huddle in a doorway.

I pulled my shiny car to the curb, rolled

down the window and said, "Mother . . .

would you . . ." and was shocked at the word

"Mother." But she was . . . is ... in some way

I cannot grasp.

I said, again, "Mother, I've brought you

some food. Would you like some turkey and

stuffing and apple pie?

At this the old woman looked at me and

said quite clearly and distinctly, her two loose

lower teeth wobbling as she spoke, "Oh,

thank you very much, but I'm quite full now.

Why don't you take it to someone who really

needs it?" Her words were clear, her manners

gracious. Then I was dismissed: Her head

sank into her rags again.

Start With Yourself

The following words were written on the

tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the Crypts of

Westminister Abbey:

When I was young and free and my imagination

had no limits, I dreamed of changing

the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered

the world would not change, so I

shortened my sights somewhat and decided

to change only my country.

But it, too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one

last desperate attempt, I settled for changing

only my family, those closest to me, but alas,

they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly

realize: If I had only changed my self

first, then by example I would have changed

my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement,

I would then have been able to better

my country and, who knows, I may have

even changed the world.


Rescue at Sea

Years ago, in a small fishing village in

Holland, a young boy taught the world about

the rewards of unselfish service. Because

the entire village revolved around the fishing

industry, a volunteer rescue team was needed

in cases of emergency. One night the

winds raged, the clouds burst and a gale

force storm capsized a fishing boat at sea.

Stranded and in trouble, the crew sent out

the S.O.S. The captain of the rescue rowboat

team sounded the alarm and the villagers

assembled in the town square overlooking

the bay. While the team launched their rowboat

and fought their way through the wild

waves, the villagers waited restlessly on the

beach, holding lanterns to light the way


An hour later, the rescue boat reappeared

through the fog and the cheering villagers

ran to greet them. Falling exhausted on the

sand, the volunteers reported that the rescue

boat could not hold any more passengers

and they had to leave one man behind.

Even one more passenger would have surely

capsized the rescue boat and all would

have been lost.

Frantically, the captain called for another

volunteer team to go after the lone survivor.

Sixteen-year-old Hans stepped forward. His

mother grabbed his arm, pleading, "Please

don't go. Your father died in a shipwreck 10

years ago and your older brother, Paul, has

been lost at sea for three weeks. Hans, you

are all I have left."

Hans replied, "Mother, I have to go. What

if everyone said, 'I can't go, let someone

else do it'? Mother, this time I have to do my

duty. When the call for service comes, we all

need to take our turn and do our part." Hans

kissed his mother, joined the team and disappeared

into the night.

Another hour passed, which seemed to

Hans' mother like an eternity. Finally, the

rescue boat darted through the fog with

Hans standing up in the bow. Cupping his

hands, the captain called, "Did you find the

lost man?" Barely able to contain himself,

Hans excitedly yelled back, "Yes, we found

him. Tell my mother it's my older brother,


A Life Worth Saving

A man risked his life by swimming

through the treacherous riptide to save a

youngster being swept out to sea. After the

child recovered from the harrowing experience,

he said to the man, "Thank you for

saving my life."

The man looked into the boy's eyes and

said, "That's okay, kid. Just make sure your

life was worth saving."

Two Brothers

Two brothers worked together on the

family farm. One was married and had a

large family. The other was single. At the

day's end, the brothers shared everything

equally, produce and profit.

Then one day the single brother said to

himself, "It's not right that we should share

equally the produce and the profit. I'm alone

and my needs are simple." So each night he

took a sack of grain from his bin and crept

across the field between their houses,

dumping it into his brother's bin.

Meanwhile, the married brother said to

himself, "It's not right that we should share

the produce and the profit equally. After all,

I'm married and I have my wife and children

who can look after me in years to

come. My brother has no one, and

no one to take care of his future." So

each night he took a sack of grain

and dumped it into his single brother's


Both men were puzzled for

years because their supply of

grain never dwindled. Then one

dark night the two brothers

bumped into each other. Slowly it

dawned on them what was happening.

They dropped their

sacks and embraced one another.



It was a sunny Saturday afternoon in

Oklahoma City. My friend and proud father

Bobby Lewis was taking his two little boys to

play miniature golf. He walked up to the fellow

at the ticket counter and said, "How

much is it to get in?"

The young man replied, "$3.00 for you

and $3.00 for any kid who is older than six.

We let them in free if they are six or younger.

How old are they?"

Bobby replied, "The lawyer's three and the

doctor is seven, so I guess I owe you $6.00."

The man at the ticket counter said, "Hey,

Mister, did you just win the lottery or something?

You could have saved yourself three

bucks. You could have told me that the older

one was six; I wouldn't have known the difference."

Bobby replied, "Yes, that may be

true, but the kids would have known the difference."

Puppies For Sale

A storeowner was tacking a sign above his

door that read "Puppies For Sale." Signs like

that have a way of attracting small children,

and sure enough, a little boy appeared under

the storeowner's sign. "How much are you

going to sell the puppies for?" he asked.

The storeowner replied, "Anywhere from

$30 to $50."

The little boy reached in his pocket and

pulled out some change. "I have $2.37," he

said. "Can I please look at them?"

The storeowner smiled and whistled and

out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down

the aisle of his store followed by five teeny,

tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably

behind. Immediately the little boy

singled out the lagging, limping puppy and

said, "What's wrong with that little dog?"

The storeowner explained that the veterinarian

had examined the little puppy and had

discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It

would always limp. It would always be lame.

The little boy became excited. "That is the little

puppy that I want to buy."

The storeowner said, "No, you don't want

to buy that little dog. If you really want him,

I'll just give him to you." The little boy got

quite upset. He looked straight into the

storeowner's eyes, pointing his finger, and

said, "I don't want you to give him to me.

That little dog is worth every bit as much as

all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. In

fact, I'll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a

month until I have him paid for."

The storeowner countered, "You really

don't want to buy this little dog. He is never

going to be able to run and jump and play

with you like the other puppies."

To this, the little boy reached down and

rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted,

crippled left leg supported by a big metal

brace. He looked up at the storeowner and

softly replied, "Well, I don't run so well

myself, and the little puppy will need someone

who understands!"

What's Really Important

A few years ago at the Seattle Special

Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or

mentally disabled, assembled at the starting

line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun they

all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with

the relish to run the race to the finish and


All, that is, except one boy who stumbled

on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of

times, and began to cry. The other eight

heard the boy cry. They slowed down and

paused. Then they all turned around and

went back. Every one of them. One girl with

Down's syndrome bent down and kissed him

and said, "This will make it better." Then all

nine linked arms and walked together to the

finish line.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the

cheering went on for 10 minutes.


The Stonecutter

There was once a stonecutter who was

dissatisfied with himself and with his position

in life.

One day, he passed a wealthy merchant's

house and through the open gateway saw

many fine possessions and important visitors.

"How powerful that merchant must

be!" thought the stonecutter. He became

very envious, and wished that he could be

like the merchant. Then he would no longer

have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.

To his great surprise, he suddenly became

the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and

power than he had ever dreamed of, envied

and detested by those less wealthy than

himself. But soon a high official passed by,

carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by

attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating

gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy,

had to bow low before the procession. "How

powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish

that I could be a high official!"

Then he became the high official, carried

everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair,

feared and hated by the people all around,

who had to bow down before him as he

passed. It was a hot summer day, and the

official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky

sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It

shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his

presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he

thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!"

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely

down on everyone, scorching the fields,

cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a

huge black cloud moved between him and

the earth, so that his light could no longer

shine on everything below. "How powerful

that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that

I could be a cloud!"

Then he became the cloud, flooding the

fields and villages, shouted at by everyone.

But soon he found that he was being pushed

away by some great force, and realized that

it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he

thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles

off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees,

hated and feared by all below him. But after

a while, he ran up against something that

would not move, no matter how forcefully he

blew against it-a huge, towering stone. "How

powerful that stone is!" he thought. "I wish

that I could be a stone!"

Then he became the stone, more powerful

than anything else on earth. But as he

stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer

pounding a chisel into the solid rock and

felt himself being changed. "What could be

more powerful than I, the stone?" he

thought. He looked down and saw far below

him the figure of a stonecutter.

My Father When I Was ...

4 years old: My daddy can do anything.

5 years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.

6 years old: My dad is smarter than your


8 years old: My dad doesn't know exactly


10 years old: In the olden days when my

dad grew up, things were sure different.

12 years old: Oh, well, naturally, father

doesn't know anything about that. He is too

old to remember his childhood.

14 years old: Don't pay any attention to

my father. He is so old-fashioned!

21 years old: Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly


25 years old: Dad knows a little bit about

it, but then he should because he has been

around so long.

30 years old: Maybe we should ask Dad

what he thinks. After all, he's had a lot of


35 years old: I'm not doing a single thing

until I talk to Dad.

40 years old: I wonder how Dad would

have handled it. He was so wise and had a

world of experience.

50 years old: I'd give anything if Dad

were here now so I could talk this over

with him. Too bad I didn't appreciate how

smart he was. I could have learned a lot

from him.


The Window

There were once two men, both seriously

ill, in the same small room of a great hospital.

Quite a small room, it had one window

looking out on the world. One of the men, as

part of his treatment, was allowed to sit up in

bed for an hour in the afternoon (something

to do with draining the fluid from his lungs).

His bed was next to the window. But the

other man had to spend all his time flat on

his back.

Every afternoon when the man next to the

window was propped up for his hour, he

would pass the time by describing what he

could see outside. The window apparently

overlooked a park where there was a lake.

There were ducks and swans in the lake, and

children came to throw them bread and sail

model boats. Young lovers walked hand in

hand beneath the trees, and there were flowers

and stretches of grass, games of Softball.

And at the back, behind the fringe of trees,

was a fine view of the city skyline.

The man on his back would listen to the

other man describe all of this, enjoying every

minute. He heard how a child nearly fell into

the lake, and how beautiful the girls were in

their summer dresses. His friend's descriptions

eventually made him feel he could

almost see what was happening outside.

Then one fine afternoon, the thought struck

him: Why should the man next to the window

have all the pleasure of seeing what was

going on? Why shouldn't he get the chance?

He felt ashamed, but the more he tried not to

think like that, the worse he wanted a

change. He'd do anything! One night as he

stared at the ceiling, the other man suddenly

woke up, coughing and choking, his hands

groping for the button that would bring the

nurse running. But the man watched without

moving-even when the sound of breathing

stopped. In the morning, the nurse found the

other man dead, and quietly took his body


As soon as it seemed decent, the man

asked if he could be switched to the bed next

to the window. So they moved him, tucked

him in, and made him quite comfortable. The

minute they left, he propped himself up on

one elbow, painfully and laboriously, and

looked out the window. It faced a blank wall.

A Sense of a Goose

Next fall, when you see geese heading

south for the winter, flying along in "V" formation,

you might consider what science has

discovered as to why they fly that way. As

each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift

for the bird immediately following. By flying

in "V" formation, the whole flock adds at

least 71 percent greater flying range than if

each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and

sense of community can get where they are

going more quickly and easily, because they

are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When a goose falls out of formation, it

suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying

to go it alone and quickly gets back into

formation to take advantage of the lifting

power of the bird in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we

will stay in formation with those people who

are headed the same way we are. When the

head goose gets tired, it rotates back in the

wing and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding

jobs, whether with people or with geese

flying south.

Geese honk from behind to

encourage those up front to keep

up their speed.

What messages do we give

when we honk from behind?

Finally-and this is importantwhen

a goose gets sick or is

wounded by gunshot, and falls

out of formation, two other geese

fall out with that goose and follow

it down to lend help and protection.

They stay with the fallen

goose until it is able to fly or until

it dies; and only then do they

launch out on their own, or with

another formation to catch up

with their group.

If we have the sense of a

goose, we will stand by each

other like that.

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