Zuzzy and the Fireworks Display

A cute story for children with a good lesson about obedience, courtesy of My Wonder Studio.


Grandpa Jake’s Storybook: Ocean Treasures

Meet a happy group of underwater friends living in the Kingdom of Shadda. Shy Goby the fish meets Camille, a little mermaid, and learns how to make a friend. Shallo the seahorse wanders off into dangerous forbidden waters only to find that it pays to obey his parents. Clip the crab finds out that anyone can be a hero. The marine pals enjoy a variety of other discoveries and adventures, and their friendship helps them through some tight spots.

My Mistake

mistake 1

Elsa Sichrovsky

I generally consider myself a forgiving and “nice” person, but I had an experience in my sophomore year that tested my ability to forgive. My classmate Matt and I were paired up to do a presentation about modern English literature, and Matt got on my nerves from the start.

My nitpicky and demanding work habits conflicted with Matt’s spontaneous approach to the project. He was frequently late for scheduled discussions, and he continually neglected details I felt were important. To top things off, he was also often late in completing his parts of our project, despite my increasingly frantic text message reminders.

Only three days before the presentation, I realized Matt hadn’t completed the final portion he was responsible for, and I was unable to reach him. Matt finally uploaded a hastily contrived conclusion only hours before the deadline, apologizing and explaining that he had been preoccupied with another assignment.

As I expected, our presentation failed to satisfy the professor, and while he enumerated our team’s many failings, I was burning with resentment toward Matt. But he didn’t seem too disturbed, and I heard from a friend that he felt he’d done his part well. Since there was no satisfaction in snubbing a person who didn’t think he’d done anything wrong, I remained outwardly polite and congratulated myself for being so magnanimous to one so undeserving.

Two months later, in another class, I was paired up with Celine to do a presentation about Japanese grammar. I believed I’d done my best to prepare, but it became apparent during our team’s QandA that I’d completely misunderstood some of the concepts we were presenting, and our team again got a bad score. I expected Celine to be upset, since it had clearly been my fault, but instead, she consoled me and helped me make the needed adjustments to the final version. Celine’s ready forgiveness provoked some soul-searching, as her response to my failure contrasted with my resentment toward Matt.

mistake 2As I thought back over the last few weeks, I realized that I hadn’t really forgiven Matt and had been unable to restrain myself from making some snide remarks about him to my friends. While Matt had been late and perhaps even uninterested, it was painfully clear that I too could be a careless student who caused a team to fail. I’d thought of myself as tolerant and merciful, but my response to Matt showed otherwise. Though I hadn’t deserved mercy, Celine had given it to me freely and without condescension. I prayed that through this experience I could gain some of the loving, humble generosity of spirit that comes from knowing that we are all fallible humans who need the forgiveness of those around us.

Art © TFI. Text courtesy of Activated magazine; used by permission.

The End of Her Part

end of the lineBy Elsa Sichrovsky

Vanessa waved at me as the doors shut, and I watched the train whisk away a friendship of six years. Vanessa and I had met in junior high school, and our common interest in writing stories and shared taste in novels had started an unbreakable friendship that had lasted through all the highs and lows of our teenage years. Now she’d won a scholarship and was going abroad to pursue her degree, leaving me to try to figure out how to go on despite feeling like her departure had pulled the bottom out from under my life. Of course, I’d always known that one day we’d both leave home and go our separate ways, but now that it was actually happening, I was crestfallen.

During the first few weeks after her departure, Vanessa’s absence awakened me to how much I had depended on her. Instead of spending time with many different friends, I’d stayed in the safe zone with Vanessa and a few of our common friends. It was easier to adopt the views of someone so likable and intelligent as Vanessa than to come up with my own views on everything. For example, I always followed Vanessa’s opinions about which books to read or what movies to watch.

While being staunchly loyal wasn’t a bad thing, I realized that I’d been reluctant to take the personal risk of making up my own mind and charting my own path. Though I admired Vanessa’s courage to leave her familiar surroundings and pursue her dream, I was also terrified at the thought of going through the emotional turbulence that comes with reaching adulthood without the assurance of my best friend’s validation and emotional support.

Vanessa and I kept in contact for the first year or so, but naturally grew apart as time went by. Back then, having my hopes to preserve our friendship crumble away was heartbreaking. Yet looking back, it’s clear Vanessa’s moving out of my life gave an impetus to my personal growth.

I was forced to meet new friends, to make mistakes, and then pull myself up to stand again on my own two feet. Not being able to ask for her advice about everything made me search my heart more and contemplate issues for myself. Though at the time I felt lonely and abandoned, I understand now what Faraaz Kazi wrote about friendship: “Some people are going to leave, but that’s not the end of your story. That’s the end of their part in your story.”

Train background image by Freepik; girl in foreground in public domain. Story courtesy of Activated magazine; used by permission.

Grandpa Jake’s Storybook: Dino Tales

A group of dinosaur friends live a happy life together, filled with adventure and opportunities to show their concern for one another. When Crispin accidentally ruins his sister Dixie’s garden, they and their friends work together to repair what’s been damaged. Wesley’s bedtime blues turn into a misadventure, but one with lessons worth having learned. A surprise invitation presents Bumble with the challenge of brushing up on manners fit for a banquet. This enchanting book contains six fully illustrated stories and teaches values such as forgiveness, honesty, teamwork and the importance of good manners.