Thursday, April 08, 2010

The Good Classmate

Samantha put her lunchbox back in her school bag. She was always the last person in their 5th grade class to finish lunch. She was slow at a lot of things, but it didn’t really bother her.
Sam squinted in the bright sunlight as she came out of the school building and down the stairs onto the oval. As her eyes adjusted, she could see a big group of kids midfield.
As she approached the group, Sam noticed a soccer ball resting between her and the cluster of kids. Why aren’t they playing? Sam wondered.
“Don’t touch him!” someone said forcefully.
“Henry ran into him real hard!” another voice said.
“I did not!” Henry’s voice came from the middle of the group.
Sam pushed her way through the crowd. She could just make out the body of a boy lyingon the ground. His legs were twitching.
“Somebody help him!” Henry said.
“I’m not touching him,” someone else said.
“Henry, you should help him,” James demanded. “You hurt him!”
“I didn’t run into him,” Henry argued. “He was coming toward me and then he just fell over!”
Sam pushed her way into the middle of the circle. Ignoring the argument, she knelt next to the shaking boy. It was Nigel, the new student from overseas, lying flat on his back, one leg bent uncomfortably underneath him, foamy saliva oozing from his mouth.
The other kids stopped their argument and stared as Sam took hold of Nigel’s shoulder and hip and rolled him onto his side. She sat behind him holding him in position. Only then did she notice her staring classmates.
Sam was calm because she knew what she was doing. She had been listening carefully in first aid class. Nigel was having a seizure. He needed care until he stopped fitting.
“James,” Sam said with confidence, “run and tell a teacher that Nigel is having a fit.”James pushed his way out of the crowd and ran toward a group of teachers.
“Henry,” Sam said, looking up at the accused boy, “You didn’t hurt Nigel. He will be fine in a minute.”
Henry looked very relieved, “Is there anything I can do?”
“Yes,” Sam said. “Keep the sun off his face.” Henry knelt above Nigel’s head blocking the hot midday son. Nigel had stopped shaking and was breathing quietly.
Just then Mr Perry broke through the crowd, breathing hard. Quickly, he knelt in front of Nigel, just as the boy opened his eyes.
“Hello, Nigel,” Mr Perry said gently. “How do you feel?”
“I’m ok,” Nigel said quietly.
“You’ve got some very good friends here,” Mr Perry said.
Nigel turned his head and looked at Sam and then Henry. Tears filled his eyes.
Henry spoke, “Samantha knew what to do. We were scared.”
“Thanks Sam,” Nigel said.
Sam smiled and rested her hand on Nigel’s shoulder, “You would have done the same for me, I’m sure.”
“Well done, Samantha,” Mr Perry smiled. “Our school is blessed to have you!”

Jotham’s Story

During recess something amazing happened on the playground.

Just as the students were getting ready to choose teams for a friendly game of basketball, Timothy grabbed the ball, walked to the middle of the court, and shouted, “I should be captain. Always! It should never be questioned that I am always one of the captains in every sport on every day! I am the biggest kid. And my Dad was the biggest kid at this school when he was here! My family should always be in charge!”

The other boys looked at each other in confusion. No one had ever seen or heard anything like this. Finally they nodded and said, “Fair enough. You are the biggest. You can be boss.”

Jotham had been watching from the swings and heard the whole thing. He climbed to the top of the playground slide and shouted,

“Listen to me, fellow classmates!
Once upon a time the trees decided to pick a king.
First they said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’

But the olive tree refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing delicious olive oil
that makes cooking taste so good,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then they said to the fig tree,
‘You be our king!’

But the fig tree also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing my sweet fruit
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then they said to the grapevine,
‘You be our king!’

But the grapevine also refused, saying,
‘Should I quit producing grapes, sultanas and juice,
just to wave back and forth over the trees?’

“Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said,
‘Come, you be our king!’

And the thornbush replied to the trees,
‘If you truly want to make me your king,
come and take shelter in my shade.
If I am king you must do what I want,

or I will set all the trees on fire!’”

When Jotham stopped talking, every kid on the playground stared up at him in silence. They were waiting for something.

Finally Timothy spoke, “And? What’s the end of the story?”

“I don’t know,” Jotham said. “It hasn’t happened yet!”

Another boy shouted, “You’re weird. We don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

Jotham stood tall, on top of the slide. He confidently placed his hands on his hips. “Just think about it. Choose a leader because he is a good leader, not because he demands it!”

“Wait just a minute,” Timothy thought he might be understanding Jotham’s little story. “Are you saying I am a thorn bush?”

One of the boys sniggered.

Jotham smiled, “No, of course not. Thornbushes are prickly and grab at things hurting everyone they touch.”

“Yeah,” one of the other boys said, “He’s just telling a story. Let’s play ball.”

Jotham climbed down from the slide and returned to the swing set.

Timothy turned and handed the ball to one of the other boys. He looked down to hide the tears pooling in his eyes.

“Aren’t you going to play basketball?” the boy who had received the ball asked Timothy.

“No,” Timothy said bravely, “I’m gonna go on the swings.”

Timothy walked to an empty swing and sat down. He looked over at Jotham and asked quietly, “Could you please tell me more about the thornbush?”

“Sure,” Jotham said with a kind smile. And as the sound of basketball filled the air around them, a thornbush died and a giant oak was born.

Jotham’s story of the trees wanting a king
Judges 9:1-15

Forever Castle

Lorrie and her 5th grade class were at a local beach for a biology excursion.

The students spent the morning exploring tide pools to see what they could find. Lorrie had seen lots of algae, a few jellyfish and the occasional little fish. Her friend showed her a starfish in a lonely pool stranded about 100 metres from the rest of the pools. A few of the boys caught crabs and tried to scare the girls with them.

Mr Wegener, a nature expert who joined them for the day, walked to each tide pool explaining to the groups what was in the pool. It was amazing what you could find, if you knew what you were looking for. He showed them sea snail eggs packed so tightly they looked like a jellyfish, funny kelp called sea grapes that popped if you squeezed them really hard and a sea cucumber that had been hiding under a shelf in the biggest tide pool.

Having finished lunch about 20 minutes ago, it was sandcastle-building time. Most of the kids were working in groups. It was interesting watching the different strategies the groups were using. A couple groups built huge piles of sand with their buckets and shovels before forming a castle out of it. The rest of the groups, except for Lorrie and her friend Grace, were building their castles one handful of sand at a time.

Lorrie and Grace had plenty of opportunity to see what the other groups were doing as they carried their buckets back and forth between the wet sand and the huge rock where they were dumping the sand in a large pile. They had decided to build their sandcastle on the flat surface on the top of a rock near the car park. It was a lot of work carrying the sand back and forth, but finally they had enough to build their castle.

The two girls spent about thirty minutes shaping their castle and then gathered some kelp from around the beach to make a cool border around it. Just as they were finishing they heard their teacher calling them to join together in a group. Lorrie and Grace jumped down from their rock into the sand and ran to the group.

As they approached, the teacher said, “We are now going to look at each sandcastle and allow the groups to tell the story of their castle.” The kids enjoyed this create your story game. It was how they presented projects they had done at home or in groups.

The wandered from castle to castle hearing the story of each. Some of the stories were very creative, some very factual. Finally they turned toward the car park and walked toward Lorrie and Grace’s castle.

As they approached the final castle the teacher asked, “What is the story of this castle?”

Lorrie and Grace climbed up behind the castle. Lorrie said, “This is Castle-Rock and this is the Forever Castle!”

Grace pointed back toward the beach and said, “All of your castles will soon be gone as the tide comes in. The Forever Castle will last into eternity!”

The teacher smiled and turned to the group. “That reminds me of a Bible story,” the teacher said. She turned and pointed to the car park, “Everyone back on the bus, I’ll tell you the story on the way back to school.”

A wise man builds on Rock & a fool on sand
Matt 7:24-27, Luke 6:47-49

Brother’s Fish

Joel and Jeremy were the best of friends and the worst of enemies—typical brothers. Jeremy was seven years old and thought his 12 year-old big brother was really cool. And Joel liked Jeremy because he laughed at all of his jokes.

Today Joel had the boy from next door, Reuben, over for the afternoon. They had been playing games outside and Jeremy had been following them around. Joel and Reuben didn’t really mind. They even let Jeremy play with them. When they played soccer, Joel said Jeremy could be the ball. Everyone laughed and then they let him referee.

Now they were in Joel’s bedroom playing with his toys. Jeremy had crawled under Joel’s bed and was pretending he was spying on the bigger boys. Joel and Reuben ignored Jeremy, which was perfect because it made him think his spying was working.

Then Reuben saw Joel’s fish tank. “Wow!” Reuben said, “You have heaps of fish!”

“Yeah,” Joel replied. “They are fun to watch, especially at night when their light is on and the room is dark.”

Reuben went over to the tank and knelt down to watch the fish. He watched one fish after the other as it zipped around the tank or floated quietly in place.

“They are all so different,” Reuben said.

“I know,” Joel answered. “Each of them has it’s own name.”

“Really?” Reuben asked, “Do they come when you call them?”

The boys both laughed. They watched the fish in silence for a little while and then Reuben asked, “Hey, would I be able to have one fish?”

Joel thought about it for a moment and then smiled, “Sure! I’ll just go get a plastic bag and a net.”

“That’s awesome, Joel!” Reuben was very excited. “You are so generous.”

Reuben watched the fish zipping around; trying to choose which one he would ask for when Joel returned.

After what seemed like an eternity, Joel came back with a bag full of water and a net. “Here ya go,” Joel said offering the bag to Reuben. There was a rubber band tied tightly around the bag holding the water in. And there was something inside.

“Hey,” Reuben said. “There’s already a fish in the bag!”

“Yup, you can have that one,” Joel said happily.

“I didn’t know you had other fish tanks in your house,” Reuben said.

“Just one!” Joel said with a laugh.

Jeremy shot out from under the bed. He knew where that other fish tank was.

“That’s my fish!” Jeremy shouted as he leapt toward Reuben.

Reuben pulled the bag close to his chest. “Be careful!” Reuben shouted, “You’ll pop the bag.”

Joel wrapped his arms tightly around Jeremy from behind, putting one hand firmly over his mouth. “Quick, take the fish home,” Joel said. “I’ll come over to your house in a bit.”

Reuben looked from Joel to Jeremy and then back, “Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Joel said as he forced Jeremy to nod his head.

Reuben shrugged his shoulders and left the room. Moments later the front door squeaked open and then closed. Reuben was gone. And so was Jeremy’s fish—his only fish.

Nathan’s story of the Pet Lamb
2 Samuel 12:1-13

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...