After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. "There," he said to the old man, "see if you can match that!" Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. "Now it is your turn," he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. "You have much skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot."
Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."
When an ice cream sundae cost much less, a boy entered a coffee shop and sat a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him..... "How much is an ice cream sundae?" "Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table, and the waitress was impatient.
Thirty-five cents," she said angrily. The little boy again counted the coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream."
The waitress brought the ice cream and walked away.
The boy finished, paid the cashier, and departed. When the waitress came back, she swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies -- her tip.
Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different color hair than the other family members. One child suggested that he was adopted and a little girl named Jocelynn Jay said, "I know all about adoptions because I was adopted."
"What does it mean to be adopted?" asked another child.
"It means," said Jocelynn, "that you grew in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy."
A four year old was at the pediatrician for a check up. As the doctor looked down her ears with an otoscope, he asked, "Do you think I'll find Big Bird in here?"
The little girl stayed silent.
Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat.
He asked, "Do you think I'll find the Cookie Monster down there?"
Again, the little girl was silent.
Then the doctor put a stethoscope to her chest. As he listened to her heart beat, he asked, "Do you think I'll hear Barney in there?"
"Oh, no!" the little girl replied. "Jesus is in my heart. Barney's on my underpants."
As I was driving home from work one day, I stopped to watch a local Little League baseball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first-baseline, I asked one of the boys what the score was. "We're behind 14 to nothing," he answered with a smile.
"Really," I said. "I have to say you don't look very discouraged."
"Discouraged?" the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. "Why should we be discouraged? We haven't been up to bat yet."
Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in my life, I stop and I think about little Jamie Scott.
Jamie was trying out for a part in a school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen.
On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what, Mum," he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me: "I've been chosen to clap and cheer."
A lesson in "heart" is my little, 10 year old daughter, Sarah, who was born with a muscle missing in her foot and wears a brace all the time. She came home one beautiful spring day to tell me she had competed in "field day"- that's where they have lots of races and other competitive events.
Because of her leg support, my mind raced as I tried to think of encouragement for my Sarah, things I could say to her about not letting this get her down-but before I could get a word out, she said, "Daddy, I won two of the races!"
I couldn't believe it! And then Sarah said, "I had an advantage." Ahh. I knew it. I thought she must have been given a head start... some kind of physical advantage. But again, before I could say anything, she said, "Daddy, I didn't get a head start... My advantage was I had to try harder!"