The following is a story I told the students at the martial arts club where I teach.
This is the story of a very special dog named, Dog! The words for this story were found on a piece of paper inside a glass jar that washed ashore on Lake Ontario.
Dog is a golden Retriever with a beautiful golden coat. He is special because he is connected to everything in the universe and because of this, he is able to help people solve their problems. He travels from town to town using whatever means necessary to bring goodness to those in need, especially kids.
For instance, he once traveled to a town where he encountered a young girl who was very sad. So he asked the girl, “Why are you so sad?”
“Because I’m so ugly,” she replied.
Dog was very puzzled! “Why do you think you are ugly?”
“Because people tell me I am.”
That is very sad,” Dog said, “because you’re not ugly at all! I think there’s another way we can look at this that will help you feel better. Would you be interested in knowing what that is?”
“Yes I would,” she smiled.
“You see, people say unkind things to others because they don’t feel good about themselves, and if they did, they would only say nice things. What is more, true beauty is not what you look like, it is what is in your heart. If you want to feel beautiful, just fill your heart with love and be nice to people. How would you feel about that?”
“That sounds awesome!” she beamed. “And that is exactly what I’m going to do!”
“Awesome!” yelped Dog.
Then Dog traveled to another town. He got there in the back of a pickup truck. A very friendly farmer gave him a ride. In this second town, he encountered a young boy who was a bully. Dog said to him, “Why are you a bully? Why are you beating up younger kids?”
“Because people are mean to me. They beat me up and call me names,” replied the boy, very sadly. “So I beat up other kids because it makes me feel brave and strong.”
“I see,” remarked Dog. “Perhaps there is another way we can approach this so that you can feel brave and strong without beating up other kids. How would you feel about that?”
“Actually, I would like that very much because beating up a little kids makes me feel ashamed of myself.”
“I bet it does,” said Dog. “First, the best way to feel brave and strong is to stand up for yourself. Ask the people who are being mean to you why they’re doing it, tell them how it makes you feel and that you will no longer allow them to treat you that way. Second, forgive them for being unkind to you.”
“But how can I do that? How can I forgive people who are hurting me?”
“The reason people are beating you up is because they don’t feel good about themselves. It’s not because there’s something wrong with you. If they felt good about themselves, they wouldn’t hurt you. When you understand this, it is much easy to be forgiving.”
“I understand that,” said the boy, smiling.
“There’s one other thing you can do that will help you feel better, and that is to be helpful! When you stand up for yourself, when you’re forgiving and when you’re helpful, you feel brave and strong and you can’t help but feel good about yourself.”
“I would like to feel that way, so I will do it,” he said confidently.
“Awesome!” barked Dog.
Then Dog traveled to another town where he knew he was needed. He got there on a greyhound bus. The bus driver loved dogs and he was happy to give Dog a ride. There, he met another boy who was feeling very sad. When Dog asked him what was wrong, the boy said, “I am a failure. I’m a complete loser!”
“Why do you believe you’re a failure?” asked Dog gently.
“Because I lost a race.”
“Why does this make you feel like a failure?”
“Because people say that winning is the only thing that matters!”
“Actually, that is not true,” remarked Dog. “If it was, we would all feel like failures, because no matter how good you are at something there is always the possibility that you’ll encounter somebody who is better. What is far more important, is doing your best. When you do your best, you always feel successful, whether you win or not.”
“That makes sense,” said the boy.
“If you want to feel like a winner and if you want to feel happy, just focus on doing your best and be thankful for everything you have already!”
“I like that very much,” the boy smiled, “and that is exactly what I’m going to do!”
“Awesome!” said Dog, wagging his tail.
And Dog continued on his journey helping other kids overcome their challenges.
When I finished telling the story, I asked the students, what Dog is trying to tell us.
“He wants us to feel good about ourselves,” they replied. “He wants us to be nice!”
“Awesome!” I smiled.
Have an awesomely triumphant day!