Stories & Children

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, and sometimes in those moments, she looked younger to me. It was our particular time together to read and talk about books.

It could have b...

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The Power of Sharing our Family Stories

I had never traveled anywhere alone. Riding a bus from Macon to Atlanta, Georgia with strangers was not a long distance, I know, 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 stories of my mom and get to know what she was like when she was a young girl.

The bus arrived late that night at a very busy bus station on Peachtree st...

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What would the world be without color?

A wonderful time of the year! Color is everywhere, and everything has color, especially during these beautiful Autumn and Fall days. The variety of colors are endless, and it fills our world with beauty.

What would the world be without color? As an educational writer, that's the question I sent to an elementary school recently. The answers ranged from no changing leaves, no beautiful flowers, no rainbows, and no jelly beans! What an awful thought!

"I think that the world would be depressing because you wouldn't see the beauty o...

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It is never too early to talk to your children

The subject was drugs. My son was telling 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 with him, and reminded him that we did the same thing 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 exactly he meant. "By the time you asked me about drugs, Mom, I had already tried them," he said as gently as...

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

It was just a small, 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 was probably because it represented rebellion against what was the norm in our family; that is, girls wore earrings, and guys didn’t.

It could have been the vain 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 hi...

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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.

At a time when parents are worrying 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 und...

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How Sports Teach Young People To Never Give up

It was the last 45 seconds of the game, and the basketball had been pushed into her hands. 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 basket below, closed her eyes, and threw the ball toward the goal as hard as she could.

Relieved that the discarded ...

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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 over and over while we lured these short, hairy insects from their homes in the warm Georgia sand when we were children, using only a 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...

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Children Remember so Much

One weekend I traveled to Tennessee to visit our grandchildren without my husband, who was not able to 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. “...

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Happiness is How We Treat Our Families

Think for a moment 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 they are talking to us. In the workplace, 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 out of the view of people who admire us?

Last wee...

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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 the arrival of their second child.

“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 se...

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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 make ready 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 corn...

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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 is 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 always 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 a medication. I finally got to the point where I reached my goal. Now I'm in Pre-AP (honor cla...

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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 a holiday to fill the tank, even though the temperature was only going to 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...

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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 her 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

When we lived in Texas, I had a friend who needed to write a paper about Hispanic Heritage Month for an English assignment. She asked me what I thought was the most important thing young people in the Rio Grande Valley needed to succeed in life.

While I was thinking about the answer, she said everyone else had told her the answer was education. I agreed that education was definitely the answer for success in any person’s life, young or old, but there is something we must have even to reach that goal. It is hope.

E...

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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, a flower shop, a bank, a minute market and a family owned restaurant and, of course, 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, who was always zipping around the neighborhood on his red bicycle. First thing every morning during the summer he would get dressed and off he would go for his morning ride. In his travels he often ...

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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.

While we were having dinner, like most moms, 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 Tennessee. Even ...

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An Educational Gift for My Children

The older gentleman standing in the hall outside the classroom was dressed very nice.  He wore a brown tweed jacket, dark brown trousers, a stripped shirt and a sharp looking tie.  His hair was gray and his glasses made him look very wise. 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 took a seat in the middle near the wall just in case I changed my mind and d...

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Are We Teaching Our Children to Lie?

One day after school, our youngest son, Jay, 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 Jay had not been turning in his...

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Connecting With Our Children in the Kitchen

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

As a little girl, I would sit and talk with my mother or watch her move about the kitchen with flour on the front of her dress and at the edge of her hairline where she wiped her forehead with the back of her hands when she was making bread.

Some mornings I stepped down into the kitchen and sat on the stool beside the butter ch...

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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 live in Knoxville, Tenn.  I told him we would meet him in Washington, D.C. at his aunt 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 that I have become the grandparent who gives him the little things in life.

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

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Under The Same Sky

One summer in a different country seemed to have changed the way our daughter saw the stars at night.

During her freshman year at college, she and seven other students from Lee University were invited to Russia to help set up the first Christian education department at Poltava University in the Ukraine.

When she came home, she tried to give us a visual picture of how different the lives of the people were in Russia.

"The food was very different," she said. The main staple was hard bread and a fatty sausage. Large familie...

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