Stories & Children


Standing at the sink with suds dripping down onto their bare feet was a fun way to wash dishes for my children when they were little.

I would pull a chair up to the sink for them to stand in and then fill it with warm, sudsy water and provide little things they could wash to entertain themselves.

While I did the rest of the housework, bubbles and giggles were everywhere. And, yes, I had to clean that up too.

However, as they got older, the game became a chore, and their enthusiasm disappeared. My husband helped a...

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Please Read Me a Story

One of the best memories I have from my childhood is the time my mother read to me. When it was cold outside, we sat on the couch late at night with the fire blazing in the fireplace. I leaned against her shoulder and watched the lines on her face disappear as she used her voice to mimic the characters in the book.

She laughed and pretended to cry to make the story come to life; sometimes, she looked younger than me in those moments. It was our particular time together to read and talk about books.

It could have bee...

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The Power of Sharing our Family Stories

I had never traveled anywhere alone. I know riding a bus from Macon to Atlanta, Georgia, with strangers was not long-distance, but it was frightening and exciting for an 18-year-old.

My mom died when I was 13, and I lived with my brother and sister-in-law. The trip was a graduation gift to visit my aunts, who I hardly knew. They thought it would be good for me to hear my mom’s stories and learn what she was like as a young girl.

The bus arrived late that night at a bustling bus station on Peachtree street, but no ...

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What would the world be without color?

Do you remember the 1998 movie Pleasantville? It was about a television repairman impressed by a high school student”s  devotion to a 1950s family TV show, so he provided him and his sister with a means to escape into the black-and-white program.

The student initially takes to the simplistic, corny world of the show, but his sister does not. So instead, she sets about jolting the characters with doses of reality that unexpectedly bring a little color into their drab existence.

I can’t imagine a world without color! ...

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It is never too early to talk to your children

The subject was drugs. My son told me he thought his children would receive good information about drugs in their schools, but it was still the parent’s responsibility to talk about it at home.

I agreed and reminded him that we did the same for him and his brother and sister. “I know, Mom,” he said carefully. “But you were too late.”

Trying not to show how dumbfounded I was, I asked him what he meant. “By the time you asked me about drugs, Mom, I had already tried them,” he said as gent...

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It was just a tiny, round gold loop placed in his left ear, like the one many of his friends wore, but it bothered me. Why? I am not sure. It might have been because it represented a rebellion against the norm in our family; girls wore earrings, and guys didn’t.

It could have been the primary concern that our friends might think our parenting skills were weak or the fear that he would reject other rules we thought were important. So, I did what frustrated mothers do; I scolded him, nagged him, and finally pleaded with him to tak...

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The worries of our children

We often use the expression: “I feel as carefree as a child.” But children are not always carefree. In fact, children have many worries, and one of them might be unanswered questions and fears about the Coronavirus.

When parents are worried about the many impacts this viral epidemic is having on their lives, their jobs, and maybe even their health, children are listening and worrying too.

According to legend, Guatemalan children tell one worry to each of their hand-made Worry Dolls, placing them under their ...

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How Sports Teach Young People To Never Give up

It was the last 45 seconds of the game when suddenly a teammate passed the ball into her hands. A Chest Pass is a two-handed pass from chest to the chest without touching the ground in a basketball game.

For a second, she stood there numb, bouncing the ball on the polished hardwood floor. The seconds ticked by until she was jerked into action by the shouting on the sideline. “Throw it, throw the ball!”

A tall guard loomed in front of her face. She moved to her right side, glanced at the round metal ring with the bas...

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Slowing Down and Paying Attention

“Doodlebug, doodlebug, come out tonight, doodlebug, doodlebug, your house is on fire.” The little chant still echoes in my head when I see a familiar cone-shaped track spiraling downward into the soft, warm sand.

My brother and I sang this tune repeatedly while we lured these short, hairy insects from their homes in the warm Georgia sand when we were children, using only straw or a small stick. We placed the stick in the middle of the soft cone-like entrance to their pits and wiggled it around.

After a while, a litt...

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Children Remember so Much

One weekend I traveled to Tennessee to visit our grandchildren without my husband, who could not get off work. Alex, our oldest, and I went to the grocery store together to pick up something for lunch.

We were getting ready to get out of the car when he said, “Nana, are you and Papa sorry?” Startled, I said, “Sorry for what, Alex?” “Sorry for taking my Grinch toys away from me,” he said. “What Grinch toys,” I asked him. I couldn’t remember that he had any Grinch toys. “The on...

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Happiness is How We Treat Our Families

Think for a moment about how we treat our friends. We laugh with them, share good times, listen to them, and always try to be fair. We comfort them when things are going bad, and we would never interrupt them or allow ourselves to be distracted while talking to them.

We treat our coworkers with respect and would not dare tell them to shut up or accept a kind gesture without saying thank you.

But how do we treat our spouses and children when we get home away from the view of people who admire us?

Recently, I went ...

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Wiggly Messes and Tasty Memories

All the students in the room wore full aprons to protect their clothing. They needed to because they were a group of wiggly 2 and 3-year-olds in a cooking class. My daughter scheduled the class at the local community center for my granddaughter and me when she knew I was coming to help her during their second child’s arrival.

“You’ll love it, mom,” she said. “You and Clare can have some fun together and make cookies.”

Eight little squirming bodies stood on chairs around two long tables with s...

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Our Crafty Gift Moments

Crafty gifts are usually unique because the person receiving the gift knows that the giver makes an extra effort to show how much they care. My youngest son still has a quilt that his grandmother made him when he was 8 years old. He was so excited when he woke up one morning at her house and found it lying on his bed. She sat up all night to finish it so he could take it home.

When my daughter was expecting our new grandson in September, she painted his room a bright blue with red trim and had drawn animal characters on the walls. I t...

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In My Corner of the Field

I grew up on a farm. At the end of each summer or harvest year, my dad set fire to the fields to prepare them for seeding the following spring. My brothers and I helped him by containing the fire in our corner of the fields. We didn’t have vast fields, but this was a low-cost alternative to tilling in the previous year’s crops, and my dad also believed it killed unwanted insects.

Our job was to stand in our designated section of the field with a large wet cloth or a wet broom and make sure the fire did not go beyond our co...

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Learning How to Help Your Child With ADHD

“When I was in the first grade, I had trouble concentrating and doing my work, and what added to this problem was that I have a disorder called ADHD (Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder), and I didn’t know it. I was always hyper, out of control, and getting in trouble. I also had a temper problem. Because of this, I set a goal to improve. The school put me in a program called 504 (to receive extra help), and I also started to take medication. I finally got to the point where I reached my goal. Now I’m in Pre-AP (hono...

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Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and everything was going wrong. There was no heat to warm the small trailer where we lived. That was because the butane tank that held the gas was empty.

We called the gas company, but they refused to come out on holiday to fill the tank, even though the temperature would only reach 15 degrees. My husband’s job had brought us to the small Georgia town. He was the new pastor of a small missionary church.

It was so cold in the trailer that the children had to wear their coats and glo...

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Threatening our Children Causes Many Problems

The little girl ran from one side of the waiting room to the other, almost tripping the adult walking by. Her mother tried to stop her, but the three-year-old ran out of her reach. When she finally got back to her seat, she stood up and began jumping up and down dangerously close to the edge of the chair.

The frantic mother told the child to sit down or she would not get a treat when they left. It didn’t work. When all other negotiations failed, the mother seemed to have had enough. She said to the child with exasperation, ̶...

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Hope and Determination are Important Tools in Life

I had a young friend who needed to write a paper about the most important thing young people need to succeed. It was for an English assignment.

While I was thinking about the answer, she said everyone else had told her the answer was education. I agree that education is essential to success in any person’s life, young or old, but what we must have to reach that goal. It is hope and determination.

Even parents with limited or no formal education can instill the hope and determination to reach for higher goals in th...

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A Child and a Flower

The little town where we lived outside of Augusta, Georgia, was very small. There was an elementary school, flower shop, bank, minute market, family-owned restaurant, and many churches. We knew just about everyone in the community, and everyone knew our youngest son.

He was a friendly child with whitish blonde hair, always zipping around the neighborhood on his red bicycle. Every morning during the summer, he would get dressed, and off he would go for his morning ride. In his travels, he often stopped and talked with our neighbors.

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If You Love Me, Buckle Your Seat Belt

I hated to start our evening with nagging, but when our daughter drove up in front of the restaurant, I noticed she wasn’t wearing her seat belt. “Sweetheart, you should wear your seat belt,” I said. “Sure, mom,” she laughed.

Like most moms, while we were having dinner, I felt compelled to give my usual lecture about the danger of not wearing seat belts.

When we started to leave, it was raining, and I felt anxious about her driving back to her college dorm on the wet, winding roads of East Tennesse...

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An Educational Gift for My Children

The older gentleman in the hall outside the classroom was dressed very professionally. He wore a brown tweed jacket, dark brown trousers, a striped shirt, and a sharp-looking tie. His hair was gray, and his glasses made him look very wise. So I figured he must be the professor of the class I was about to enter.

When the door opened, 25-30 college students, dressed in an array of youthful outfits, funneled in and sat down, ready to start the new semester.

I sat in the middle near the wall just in case I changed my mind and decid...

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Are We Teaching Our Children to Lie?

One day after school, our youngest son seemed fidgety. I could tell something was wrong, but when I asked him, he said it was nothing.  Finally, after staring at the TV for an hour or so, he meekly said, “Mom, I have to tell you something.” His face was tense, and his eyes were sad.

I put everything aside and gave him my full attention while he stuttered out his words. “The teacher sent you a note home,” he said. I asked to see the note. The teacher had written that he had not turned in his homework, bu...

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Connecting With Our Children in the Kitchen

Our kitchen was two steps down from the rest of the house. You took two steps down into the kitchen when you walked through the living and dining rooms. My favorite place to sit was on those steps.

When I was a little girl, I sat on those steps and watched my mother working in the kitchen. She always had flour on the front of her dress and around her beautiful auburn hairline, where she wiped her forehead with the back of her hands.

Some mornings I sat on the stool beside the butter churn with a wood plunger in both hands. I pu...

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Happy Meal Toys

Before the holidays began, I spoke with my 5-year-old grandson on the telephone. He and his two little brothers lived in Knoxville, Tenn. I told him we would meet him in Washington, D.C., at his aunt’s house for the Thanksgiving holidays.

He was so excited about being able to see us. He said, “Oh, Nana, will you be bringing me “Happy Meal” toys?” It seems I had become the grandparent who gave him the little things in life.

When our youngest son was little, his favorite toys were happy meal ...

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Under The Same Sky

Our daughter, Christy, said she stood on a pier looking into the Black Sea. “I understood that if I wanted to feel those waters, I should jump in at that moment. I knew the odds were I’d never get another chance. So I jumped in the freezing water with my clothes on and swam in the Black Sea.”

The Black Sea is near Russia’s recently bombed Odesa Opera house in Ukraine.

In 1994, she and seven other students from a Christian University in the U.S. volunteered to go to the National University in Poltava, Ukr...

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Feeling Safe As A Family

At 4:am, my head finally sank into the overly soft pillow in the attic bedroom. I had been waiting for the last child to arrive at the cabin we rented for the holidays.

I was thankful as I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that, once again, our children were under one roof. If I listened intently, I could almost hear each of them breathe, though they were sleeping on different levels of the three-story cabin surrounded by tall gold and red trees.

It was a feeling every Mother longs to feel with her children. If they ar...

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Crying Child

Nothing is worse than being stuck in an airplane with a screaming child. “That mother needs the kid under control,” he said loud enough for the young mother to hear the comment.

The little girl making all the noise was about 18 months old, and no amount of consoling from her frazzled mother would soothe her.

I was flying home from a conference in Atlanta and felt sorry for the young woman trying to get her child to stop crying. But, unfortunately, acquiring “Mom” doesn’t mean you always know what t...

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Embarrassing the Kids

When our children were teenagers, one of the things they hated most was when I used coupons to buy groceries or when I would count out change from my purse instead of handing over dollar bills or a credit card.

Little things embarrassed them, like when I cut a newspaper coupon for a chicken bucket. I stopped at the intercom of the fast-food drive-in sign and ordered the fried chicken but failed to tell them I had a coupon.

When I drove to the window, I showed them my discount coupon, but they said they couldn’t take it be...

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Separation Anxiety Not Just Kids Stuff

Our youngest child suffered severe separation anxiety going into kindergarten. It is a disorder in which a child becomes excessively anxious when separated from parents.

I tried to assure him that he would make friends and learn many new things. That didn’t impress him, so I told him, “Well, we’ll just take it one day at a time.”

He misunderstood and interpreted the one day at a time as he only had to go one day, and if he didn’t like it, he didn’t have to go back.

The next day I met h...

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Children Do As They See

The older man was small and stooped over. His steps were careful as he carried his tray to the restaurant table where I was having dinner. I could see relief in his face and muscles as he reached his destination, set his load down, and eased his weak body into a chair. The woman sitting down beside him was his daughter.

When the man had difficulty cutting his meat, she patiently took the knife from his hand and cut the large portion into small pieces, perhaps the same way he did for her when she was a child. It is always very touching...

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Sarcasm Can Leave Emotional Scars

When my friend walked by my desk looking sharp in her stylish black suit, I remarked how great she looked. She said she had just come out of a senior management meeting. “Is that your senior management suit?” I asked. We laughed, and she would say something funny to me about my casual dress.

We were a little sarcastic, and it was funny. It lightened up our day because we were friends and wouldn’t do anything to hurt each other.

But there are times when sarcasm hurts. Even the word can leave a bad taste...

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Barefoot Summer

Our bare feet grew tough, our hair turned to gold, and our bodies browned and freckled in the sun that pursued us on long hot summer days.

Across the dirt road where we lived, there was an old abandoned building. Bushes, high grass, and broken tree limbs hid it from the road, but we found it and made it our secret clubhouse.

We swept the dust from one side of the room to the other and put a cardboard box in the middle of the vast open space for a table and cement blocks around for chairs.

We hid our peanut butter and cra...

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