for release October 26, 2001
by Melodie Davis
Unless You Become Like a Little Child ...
Mae Guthrie, a retired elementary school teacher was at a track watching some preschoolers who were on a field day from nursery school. The children lined up to begin their race. They started off, but soon one of the children fell down.
What did the other racers do? Did they revel in their chance to get ahead? No, several turned around, came back, helped the little boy brush the cinders off his knee, and then one of them took his friend by the hand and ran with him for the rest of the race.
Mae said it was the most beautiful thing she'd seen in quite some time.
Jerry and Mary belong to a church that is inter-racial. One year their daughter, Kate, worked hard on an art entry for the P.T.A.'s annual creative competition when she was in elementary school. She made a collage of fabrics showing people of many different colors and backgrounds. Mary complimented Kate on how nice it was that Kate had showed a variety of races.
"What?" Kate responded, not quite understanding her mother's comment.
So Mary said again how nice it was that Kate's picture had a variety of races.
Again, the comment went over Kate's head.
So Mary explained to her daughter that some people wouldn't want to play with kids of different backgrounds and colors.
"What?" Kate exclaimed, this time incredulous at her mother's explanation. It was a concept that was foreign to her at the time.
* * *
The first two stories are true and happened to people I know, who gave permission for their stories to be shared. The next two are just as winsome and I assume they are true, but I don't know their origins, other than in an e-mail from my daughter.
Tip she never forgot
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a ten-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at 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. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely.
The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table, and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier, and departed.
When the waitress came back, she began wiping the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, was 15 cents: her tip.
Ready to lay down his life
A woman who worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital got to know a little girl named Liza. Liza was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.
The doctor explained the situation to the little brother, and asked him if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. This woman said she saw the little brother hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liza." Their parents signed the papers.
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled; color began to return to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctors and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"
* * *
Why do I share these stories? Just because they're cute? No, because we're too apt to forget the words of Jesus, "Unless you become like a child" you miss the boat. (Matthew 18: 3)
If you have a true story of a child you'd like to share, send it to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 635 words; end material = 105 words
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©2001 by Globe Syndicate, all rights reserved.
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