There once was a moth that fell in love with a star.All his friends and relatives mocked him, told him he was being unrealistic and urged him to focus his efforts on some local, possible, attainable goal: a streetlamp, a porchlight, a candle or a lantern. Even a chandelier, if he must. But our Moth was in love with His Star, and he would not give up. So while all his pals, his parents, his sisters and brothers and cousins and aunts, soon burned themselves out around the local, ready-made luminaries, and wound up as charred bits of ash on the sidewalks, the porches, the floors and tables of the town, our Moth enjoyed a long and happy and healthy life in endless pursuit of his limitless Star.
Lesson: to ‘reach for the stars’ – having an ambitious goal – can actually keep you safe and sane.
The king and the flowers
A king had a wonderful talent for growing flowers and was looking for someone to succeed him. He decided he would let the flowers decide so he gave everyone a little seed. The one who would produce the most beautiful flower from the seed would be the next king.
A girl called Serena was overwhelmed by the beauty and determined to grow the most beautiful flower. She planted it in a nice pot, took great care for it, but nothing would grow.
The next year she saw everyone gathering at the palace with pots full of beautiful flowers. She was disappointed but also went to the meeting with her empty pot. The king inspected all the flower pots and then stopped at hers. Why is your pot empty, he asked. Your highness, I did everything to make it grow, but I have failed, she answered.
No, you didn’t, he replied. You see, the seeds I’ve given out were all roasted, so nothing could come out of them. I have no idea where all these flowers come from. But you have been honest and by being so, have deserved to be my heir. You will our queen.
Lesson: it pays to be honest
A Message from Mrs. Leonard
By Mary Ann Bird
I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started to go to school, my classmates-who were constantly teasing- made it clear to me how I must look to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and hollow and somewhat garbled speech. I couldn’t even blow up a balloon without holding my nose, and when I bent to drink from a fountain, the water spilled out of my nose.
When my schoolmates asked, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them that I’d fallen as a baby and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. By the age of seven I was convinced that no one outside my own family could ever love me. Or even like me.
And then I entered the second grade, and Mrs. Leonard’s class. I never knew what her first name was — just Mrs. Leonard. She was round and pretty and fragrant, with chubby arms and shining brown hair and warm dark eyes that smiled even on the rare occasions when her mouth didn’t. Everyone adored her. But no one came to love her more than I did. And for a special reason.
The time came for the annual “hearing tests” given at our school. I was barely able to hear anything out of one ear, and was not about to reveal yet another problem that would single me out as different. And so I cheated. I had learned to watch other children and raised my hand when they did during group testing. The “whisper test” however, required a different kind of deception: Each child would go to the door of the classroom, turn sideways, close one ear with a finger, and the teacher would whisper something from her desk, which the child would repeat. Then the same thing was done for the other ear. I had discovered in kindergarten that nobody checked to see how tightly the untested ear was being covered, so I merely pretended to block mine.
As usual, I was last, but all through the testing I wondered what Mrs. Leonard might say to me. I knew from previous years that she whispered things like “The sky is blue” or “Do you have new shoes?”
My turn came up. I turned my bad ear to her plugging up the other solidly with my finger, then gently backed my finger out enough to be able to hear. I waited and then the words that God had surely put into her mouth, seven words that changed my life forever.
Mrs. Leonard, the pretty, fragrant teacher I adored, said softly, “I wish you were my little girl.”
Lesson: Love heals. A small expression of love goes a very long ways