• A Sunday School teacher once told her class the story of the Prodigal Son, in which a bad son takes his inheritance while his father is still alive, leaves his family, wastes his inheritance, and driven by hunger, returns home, where his father rejoices to see him and calls for his servants to kill the Fatted Calf and prepare a welcoming feast for his long-lost son. The teacher asked her class this question: “But in the midst of all this joy and excitement, there was one to whom the Prodigal’s return meant not good times and laughter, but bitterness — one who hated the thought of attending the feast. Can anyone tell me who this was?” One child suggested, “The Fatted Calf?”
• When Ruthie, the nine-year-old daughter of Quaker humorist Tom Mullen, had a bike accident that resulted in six stitches in her chin, Mr. Mullen was surprised that she didn’t cry. He was further surprised when Ruthie told the doctor, “My daddy told me once when I was hurt not to be a crybaby!” Worried that he might have taught her the wrong thing, Mr. Mullen explained that it is OK to cry when you have an accident that requires six stitches. Ruthie listened, then told her father, “It’s all right, daddy. You can cry if you want to.”
• During church when he was a child, Stan Banker, who is now a Quaker preacher, used to play games whenever a sermon grew boring. For example, one game was “Quick Add.” He and a competitor would open their hymnals at random, then add the individual digits of the number of a hymn — whoever added the digits first (and accurately) won. Another game with hymnals was to pick a number at random, then see how many turns of the pages it took to open the hymnal at that numbered hymn.
• A Sunday School teacher once told her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man is robbed, beaten, and left for dead. Some members of society see the man and pass him by, but a despised, lowly Samaritan takes him to an inn and pays the innkeeper to take care of him. The teacher then asked her class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?” A little girl answered, “I think I’d throw up.”
• In the Talmud appears the story of a King whose subjects came to offer him any gifts he might choose. The King replied that he already had possession of a kingdom, so ordinary gifts would be useless to him. However, he added, “If you would show love for me, attend to my words. I have children, and I cherish them dearly. If you would show your love for me, then go forth and serve my children.”
• During World War II, Germaine Belinne and Liliane Gaffney (who are mother and daughter) rescued over 30 Jews by hiding them or giving them false papers. Once, they hid a small Jewish boy named Willie. He was born in 1943, but because of the war, he wasn’t circumcised until 1946. After his circumcision, he pulled his pants down in front of Liliane and said, “Liliane, look! Isn’t it pretty now?”
• Will, the young son of Walter and Jamie Tevis, wanted to wear sneakers to church, but his mother told him that sneakers were not appropriate for church. When they went to church, two people sitting in the pew in front of them were wearing sneakers. Will pointed to the sneakers and said, “See.”
• Taking her young pupils to church, a Sister urged them to be quiet, saying, “Try to be so quiet that even Jesus will be surprised we’re coming.” The children were quiet and even walked on tippy-toes, but when they entered the church, one of the children shouted, “Surprise!”
• When the Dalai Lama was a child, he was fascinated by clocks and often took them apart in an attempt to discover how they worked. The few Tibetans who had clocks quickly learned to hide them when the Dalai Lama was near.
• According to the Irish mother of 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan, a baby smiles for the first time because it sees angels.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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