Kindness and The Power of Words

My Mother, who I consider to quite possibly be the wisest person I have ever known, raised me on the adage of —  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”  Her intent was to both support me when on the receiving end of hurtful barbs sent my way, and to make sure that I learned not to launch any in the direction of others myself.

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With all due love and respect to Mom, that’s plain hogwash.  Sticks and stones may break our bones, but Words can be truly hurtful.  We need to be especially careful, supportive and encouraging with our chosen words for children, whose self-images and psyches can be so fragile.  And with everyone, really.  Words have the power to hurt or heal.  Support or discourage.  Build up or tear down.  Words can serve to create or to devastate and crush a young and loving spirit.  Broken bones and wounds tend to heal well over time, but poorly chosen, hurtful words can leave lasting impressions and scars that stay with us forever.

An unkind word is like toothpaste.  Once out, it is impossible to put back.  Hurtful and demeaning words may be forgiven, but likely never forgotten.

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A kind word can mean the world to someone who may be going thru a rough stretch of road. And we never really know what someone may be going thru from outward appearances. Oftentimes, all a struggling person may need to turn a life in turmoil around is a kind word to know someone else cares.  On how many occasions after someone has passed, have we heard the sentiment — “If only I had told them . . . . “?

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We should never let pass the opportunity to lend a hand, help someone, or as William Makepeace Thackeray put it — “Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.”

Thanks as always for stopping in to visit.  Share a kind word, and make someone’s day a little brighter.  — Jim   (and Red!)

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Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

 

“Empathy — Walking a Mile in Their Moccasins”

As a kid growing up, to me my Mother was a suburban housewife, no different from all the other kids’ moms.  Getting me off to school in the morning, keeping up the house while dad worked, having dinner ready when he got home.  Doing the shopping and all the other household tasks of a 1950’s and 60’s housewife.

Only now, can I look back to realize and appreciate the rich Southern, Country and Native American background and traditions that my mother also brought to my upbringing. She had familiar and time-worn phrases that she would repeat over and over again which have stayed with me all my life. In retrospect, she was probably the wisest person I have ever known. One of her favorite admonitions was — “Never judge someone until you have walked a mile in their moccasins,” from the 1895 poem by Mary T. Lathrap.

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Everyone has a story and a chapter they are living today in that story, and we are all part of the whole.  What happens to one of us happens to all of us.    The world needs more Empathy.  So often we toss out the well-intentioned “Hey, how ya doin’?” without pause while we keep on walking.   What if we stopped our own pursuits  for a minute and meaningfully asked — “Really, how are you doing?”  And cared.

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The following is a wonderful, heartfelt video produced by the Cleveland Clinic which can be extended beyond the hospital walls to the world outside.   When you look at someone, do you observe the outward appearance of the person in front of you, or do you feel and see the story of the individual?

 “Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” — Henry David Thoreau

Everyone is living their own story, facing their own struggles and battles, most of which we are not aware, and it gets lonely in the trenches sometimes. We need to take the time and make the effort to learn the stories to let someone know they are not alone.

Thanks as always for visiting!  Help make the world a more caring and better place today.   — Jim  (and Red!)

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Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

“Hello August, My Old Friend . . .”

Happy August!  I think.  Truth be told, the month of August is a slog thru, survival test month for me.

Heat, Humidity and afternoon Headaches are a losing trifecta.  Waking up clear-headed this morning, I realized that trying to work thru a headache is like trying to drive your car with the emergency brake on. You can eventually, slowly get there, but aware of something grinding, dragging, holding you back and burning all the way.

Had another nagging, summer humidity headache yesterday afternoon and the result was, oddly enough –  a poem.    More or less.  Hard to see thru the haze, but it might be.

With deepest and heartfelt apologies to Simon and Garfunkel then . . . . . .

Hello August, my old friend.
I’ve come to sweat with you again.
Because my skin is quickly burning,
Feeling like I’m on a spit turning.
And the pain that was seared into my brain,
Still remains . . . . within the sound . . . . of agony.

“Friends,” said I, “you may not know,
Summer’s sultry heat wave grows.
Hear the forecast that it might teach you.
Use some sunscreen so it won’t scorch you.”
Hope my words, will be heeded by one and all,
As sweating . . . . we await the cooling breezes . . . . of Fall.

So here we are in  August.  That sweltering, grass-turned-brown, kids-back-to-school, muggy, hot and shriveled month that stands like the Great Wall of China between summer and the glorious season of Autumn.   Kind of like surmounting the final obstacle on the course, fighting off exhaustion to doggedly climb over the Warped Wall to finish the race and survive to reach the other side, where sweet and spicy Pumpkin Pies, Candied Apples, Cider, Cookies and the open Highway to the Holiday Season await!

Hang in there and stay cool.  Take frequent cooling breaks if working outdoors, limit physical exertion, wear loose fitting, light-colored clothing and stay hydrated with cool, clear liquids.   And please remember to bring the pets indoors with you during extreme summer heat.  They are wearing a fur coat and overheat, too.  And just like children, they overheat as quickly as we do, if not more so.  And check the backseats of cars, no one left behind.

We’re off for some iced tea and aspirins.  And a big bucket of ice.  Thanks as always for visiting with us!   —  Jim (and Red!)

Dog- Funny- Bulldog On Ice Cubes
Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

The Best Day of Your Life? — The Day Your Life Begins!

This positive motivational message brought to you today by “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Short Story Collections, the “Margaret Monarch Plant Wildflowers for Wildlife Association”, and by the “Irresponsible Actions and Happiness Institute” — proud sponsors of independent thought and happy living everywhere.

Partial funding provided by “The Bobo and Lily Bears Foundation for Higher Nature Awareness and Appreciation”, by the “Expose Kids to Dirt and Nature Movement” located in Good Hope, and by the “‘One Day Just Ain’t Enough Recognition’ Grumpy Groundhog Group.”

Funding to support this site provided by “Old Glory Bears & Raggedy Dolls,” maker of collector teddy bears, dolls and fine quality accessories worldwide.

And by dedicated home readers like you.  Thanks as always for visiting and reading along!  —  Jim (and Red!)

Quote- Bob Moawad

Quote- Bob Moawad

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Take A Walk For Exercise, Come Home With A Story Idea– a ‘Two-fer’!

A beautiful day here yesterday with the temperature reaching 70F.  A grey, overcast morning gave way to brilliant sunshine in the afternoon, with daffodils everywhere stretching to bask in the warmth.  You could almost hear the tree buds popping open to welcome spring.  So I took an afternoon walk for fresh air and exercise.  Always a good thing.  And, as so frequently happens on walks, a fun new story idea presented itself along the way.

Walking along, I caught sight of a man getting out of his pickup truck and walking around to the back door of his home.  A while later, I observed a young lady pull into a driveway, exit the car, proceed up the walk and knock on the front door. That’s all.  Simple as that.   BAMM!  The inspiration for a fun conversation in the next set of Little Red Bear stories came to mind.  I completed the walk, came in and wrote out a new scene and character conversation, right out of the blue.  A small sequence in a large collection of stories, but isn’t that what creativity is — little bits all stitched together to form a whole?  Kind of like an old-fashioned quilt in that way.

I read a selection recently about taking the time and making the effort to  be more mindful to fully appreciate the everyday, mundane tasks that we go thru by rote each and every day, half awake in a hypnotic and robotic state without even being aware of what we are doing.  How does the shower water feel? What does the shampoo smell like?  How does the toothpaste taste and smell?  The true aromas of breakfast.  Flower scents in the air when heading outside. The feel on our face of a morning mist or breeze. Being aware and alive to consciously witness and take pleasure in everyday experiences and occurrences going on all around us all thru the day.  Living and Being in the moment.

And when we are in ‘aware mode’, fully cognizant of and appreciating our life and all around us, then creative and story ideas are everywhere.  It’s as simple as watching someone get out of their car.  Next time you find yourself stuck for a creative idea or inspiration, the answer may be waiting right outside the door.  Why not go outside and see?

Thanks for stopping by to visit.  It’s even more beautiful this morning.  I feel another walk coming on.  —  Jim (and Red!)

Writing- Walking for Ideas 2

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Short Stories About An Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends

The Importance of Play!

Nature programs and the internet are full of videos showing cute baby animals at play.  Young animals learn critical life skills thru their play, and human children are no different.  The old saying — “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” — certainly applies to children and the learning process.

Thru active play children learn to use their imaginations as well as developing critical interactive social skills and creativity.  Outdoor play is even better, combining activity with fresh air and exercise.  Children not only deserve, but need a healthy dose of playtime.

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”   ~ Fred (Mr.) Rogers

It is important to remember also, that playtime is not restricted to the young.  We all need to step away from the routine now and then to refresh and recharge, in order to remain healthy, alert and active; both living and enjoying life to the fullest.

Thanks as always for visiting.    Now, go outside and play! — Jim (and Red!)

Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith via Garden of Bright Images, Facebook

Artwork by Jessie Willcox Smith
via Garden of Bright Images, Facebook

There Are No Age Limits on Fun!  “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Short Stories.  For All Age Groups and Fitness Levels!

“Finding A Purpose Driven Life — What Would You Do If . . . . . . ?”

Have you ever wondered “What on Earth am I here for?”  Of course. Who really hasn’t?

In finding our life paths and callings, there are three important questions to ask for both ourselves and guiding our children to find a meaningful and purpose driven life —

  • What would you do if . . . .  it were impossible for you to fail?
  • What would you do if . . . . money did not matter?
  • What would you do if . . . . you did not care what anyone else thought about what you do?

To find the answers, we need to quiet our minds from the outside noise of the world, be still, and listen to our heart and inner voice; and not allow ourselves to be guided by our ego driven mind to find the key.

A wonderful video via National Geographic featuring the message of Alan Watts provides insights for us all.   What would you do if . . . . . . . . . ?

Life is much too short and precious to waste it feeling miserable.  Aligning with our real purpose for being here makes all the difference. Helping our children to learn and understand that lesson can help make all the difference in their lives, too.

So — what do you really, truly desire for your life? And for your family?  And for your children’s lives?

Thanks as always for visiting with us.  Find your happiness and peace, share it, and be the reason someone smiles today! — Jim (and Red!)


Family Times — Together Times — The Best Times!

Quote- Meaning of Life- Picasso 4

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald


Old-fashioned, Family-friendly Stories and Fun for All Ages and Fitness Levels!
About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends.

Children + Nature + Outdoors = Happy, Healthy Balanced Kids


Reason for Visit — “Popcorn Injury”

Little Red Bear and I were simply making some popcorn for a snack while taking a break from writing.  As I was dumping the popped corn into a large wooden bowl, one of the last remaining unpopped kernels, apparently very upset and angry having been awoken from its slumber, decided to seek revenge on its tormentors and “POPPED!” 

Hit me right in the eyeglasses!  If I had not been wearing glasses, it would have hit me smack in the left eye.  With no reaction time at all, I had no idea that an annoyed and highly agitated kernel of corn could fly so fast. Fortunately, bouncing off of my glasses as it did, no harm done.

But can you even imagine going to the doctor with something like that?  First of all, there would be all the Urgent Care Forms to fill out–

“Reason for Visit – Popcorn Injury.”

The doctor would come into the room trying to conceal a smirk, saying something along the lines of — “Attacked by a kernel of popcorn, were you?  I don’t know if I’ve ever treated one of these before.  We didn’t cover Popcorn Injuries in my Emergency Room training.  I don’t suppose this falls under the heading of ‘Blunt Force Trauma’, does it?  Because I’m real good with that.  We may have to refer you to a specialist.  I wonder if Dr. Redenbacher is available for a consult today?”

And then it would go on, of course.  “Hit you right in the eye, did it?  Boy, don’t you know you’re supposed to keep a lid closed on those poppers and not be looking down into them while you’re cooking?  Have you ever used one of these complex cooking devices without supervision before?  Maybe next time you should consider saving a little longer to purchase the Deluxe Model Popper.  You know, the one with the lid?  Another inch up and over and that thing woulda nailed you right between the eyes and laid you out cold on the floor.  You’re lucky to still be with us here today, son.  Do you think your relatives would have sent flowers to your funeral or popcorn balls?”

Yep.  I can just imagine the whole medical staff having had a go at my “Popcorn Injury”.  Thank goodness for eyeglasses and an embarrassment averted!  Never knew popcorn could be so temperamental and will be approaching it with a new level of respect and danger in the future.  Kind of like a rattlesnake.  Just to be safe.  Maybe I’ll just let Little Red Bear do it.  But, being a bear, he doesn’t wear eyeglasses, so I suppose not.  Will just have to be more careful myself.  That is an Urgent Care visit I do not want to make.

Have a wonderful day, and surprise someone with an unexpected act of kindness along the way!  Thanks as always for visiting!  — Jim (and Red!)

Popcorn- Angry Image 1

 

“The Adventures of Little Red Bear” Short Stories on Amazon.

About an Uncommonly Special Bear and His Friends

To Give Is To Receive and Then — To Give Away

The practice of giving and serving, focusing attention on helping and benefiting others without recognition or return, is not limited to needed donations of clothing, food and money to organizations, but also includes smiles, friendship, a supportive hand or thought, and kindness given freely each day.   For in giving these away, we ourselves grow in love, kindness and compassion, the very things we are giving away, and experience our own spiritual fulfillment and healing.  The more love and kindness we give away, the more we receive and grow back in return — to again give away.

In “The Prophet”, Kahlil Gibran wrote — “There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.”

Quote- Giving- Wayne Dyer

Children Are Always Paying Attention

Words are very powerful.  Life-changing at times.  For good or bad.  That’s why thinking before we speak, and speaking with kindness is ever so important, most especially around the fragile psyches of children.

That being said, actions speak louder than words.

“Children more attention pay,

To what you do, than what you say.”

~ Zig Ziglar

Like baby animals, our children learn by observing their parents and adults around them.  Imitating and mimicking their behavior. It’s what they do.  We may not think they are always paying attention in class or when we are talking about chores and lessons, but they are.  They are paying attention to how we respond to their not paying attention.  We all need to be careful and mindful of how we conduct ourselves and of the examples we set for not only our own children, but those around us as well.  Remember– they’re always watching.

Thanks for visiting! — Jim (and Red!)

Children- Educated- Carl Jung

“The Silent Voice of Nature”

There is a deep and ancient wisdom held by the trees, wilderness and nature.   Quiet your mind and be attentive for the voice you can only feel.  Peace and answers await in the stillness.

“Close your eyes so the heart may become your eye,
and with that vision look upon another world.”

Birds- Hummingbird Art via TW, uncredited

“A Moment in Time” by John Kolenberg, available on Fine Art America.com

“There is a voice that does not use words. Listen.”

— Rumi