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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

Daughter of Ishmael

by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Small Lessons


My Husby took me to see The Hobbit last night.
Wow.
We both loved it.
It is the story of a small, seemingly unremarkable person.
Who changes the course of his world’s history.
My favourite kind of story.
There is a place in the tale, where the man who was instrumental in starting this small person on his remarkable journey is asked why he did so.
Why did he choose as he did?
His answer?
He had noted that it’s the small things that truly make a difference.
The little, daily acts of kindness that matter.
Those ‘seemingly insignificant’ people whose small efforts effect the biggest changes.
I cried.
Because that is my reaction to everything.
And it got me thinking.
My latest novel, Kris Kringle’s Magic, is the story of one person who lives in a world which thinks that the sad, ill treatment of a particular group of people is, woefully, acceptable.
He stands against this thinking.
Alone, for the most part.
It is a story of courage.
A story of doing what is right, even when everyone around you disagrees.
The abused people in the tale?
They react to their ill treatment with kindness.
Patience.
Even love.
I have been invited to visit schools in my area to discuss the lessons in this book with the children.
To deliberate with them whether it’s okay for one group of people to treat another group with disdain.
Indifference.
Even cruelty.
At one point, to put things into their perspective, I ask them to consider what they would do if a bully pushes them down.
Bruising and scraping their hands.
Then runs away laughing.
And falls, breaking his arm.
What would they do?
Every student . . . EVERY STUDENT . . . says immediately, that they would go and help.
I pretend to protest.
“But he has just hurt you! He pushed you down!”
Universally, their answer, “But it’s the right thing to do!”
One young man said, “You don’t want to descend to his level!”
I have learned something amazing.
These smallest, seemingly unremarkable people in our world, are capable of the greatest acts of kindness.
The most forgiveness.
The purest love.
Qualities less seen among the adults.
So when do we lose that ability?
We must have had it.
But somewhere between childhood and growing up, it gets . . . lost.
I know I would think twice before going to help that person who was just mean to me.
I think I would do it.
I hope I would.
I hope I would be like the children.
Would you?


14 comments:

  1. Oh right....start off my day with the hard questions why don't you? Truly...I don't know. I hope I would help. I was brought up with the old "heap coals of fire upon their head" mantra.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. I pretty much agree with the whole 'coal' thing. But at one time, I was just like those kids. I wish I was now . . .

      Delete
  2. Thus are we counselled to become as little children. Children are naturally kind and it must be a choice we make as adults.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thus are we counselled to become as little children. Children are naturally kind as adults we must choose to react as children would.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Food for thought my friend... food for thought. I have been contemplating this very thing lately. Somewhere I've lost my empathy and compassion and it's not as strong as it used to be. Somewhere I've hardened my shell a little too much and I don't like it. I'm working on trying to get "me" back to that person I once was, but it is requiring some major effort on my part. And a child shall lead us... so very true. Thanks for the "food" today! I needed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am feeling exactly the same, Ginger. I'm not nearly as empathetic or compassionate as I was. Things are a bit better as I interact with my grandchildren, but I'm certainly not the person I was . . .

      Delete
  5. "Become as a little child". I think that's what that means. NOT childlike. But do as a child would do. It's certainly hard to do when ones becomes an adult....it's almost as if somewhere along the way...we've become hardened and tainted. Sad really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our experiences make us a bit less eager to dive in and help. I wish I could just forget all of that and do what the children do.

      Delete
  6. Oh you live in another world. lol Here we had incidents of kids hitting other kids with bats smashing faces quite badly and even killing. If that person fell, I don't think anyone would care They would want him dragged away in a police carto rot in jail. Some, like parents, would want to see him dead.

    We had some incidents when guys would break into old peoples homes and bash them up so bad they would die in the hospital and for what? Nothing.

    It's pretty scary out there. Lots of gangs, drugs.
    You try to help and get killed being a good samaritan?
    The best thing to do today, is call the police on the cell phone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, LL! I'm so sorry to hear about it. I guess we live in a bubble in Edmonton. We have some gang activity and even occasional shootings. We have murders and assaults. But not in the scope that you describe. How very, very sad.

      Delete
  7. I would hope to be like the children. Showing kindness to a bully when hurt may be a turning point for him/her to see that bullying is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hope I would be like the little child, I know there are terrible things in the world, people being so awful to other people but I don't want to be lowered to their level.. I want to hope that I would help..

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think kids can teach adults a lot of things. I would hope that I would help but I hae a vindictive side so if I did, I would probably rub it in the bully's face that she/he got what they deserve. That's not so nice. Even if I didn't say it, I would think it.

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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