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Story Time Teaches Youngsters About Kindness

Grand Prairie — The Grand Prairie Memorial Library hosted their monthly HumanKind Story Hour program on Wednesday, Jan. 8. The program introduces children and their families to stories that teach kindness and empathy.

Jennifer Lewis, who attended with her young son, Michael, sees value in these programs.

“I’m so glad the Memorial Library puts on programs like this,” Lewis said. “When we’re at home, there are two things I am currently trying to work on with Michael. One of those things is getting excited about reading. Kids these days tend to prefer playing videogames or watching TV to reading a book, so sometimes it can be hard for me to get Michael to sit down and read. We’ve been to a few things like this in the past, and when Michael sees how excited the other kids are about reading, he gets more excited too.

“I’m also trying to teach Michael about being kind to others. He isn’t what I would call a mean kid per se. He never gets in trouble at school or anything like that. He just sometimes has issues with not being very considerate of other people, which is the same for a lot of kids his age. It’s important for him to be introduced to stories that teach him the importance of being kind to others.”

Two library assistants, Caitlin and Blair, guided the children through the program.

“A part of being kind is saying you’re sorry,” Blair said. “It’s also important to be kind to yourself. You have to remember that everyone’s feelings are important. Another way to be kind is to say ‘hello’ to someone new. Of course, another part of being kind is saying ‘thank you’ to someone who helps others.

“You have to let others be who they are and cheer them up whenever they are feeling sad. Not only is being kind easy, but it’s also free. There are so many different ways to be kind, but you also should never forget to be kind to yourself.”

Caitlin shared the book they chose for the kindness lesson.  

“Today, we’re reading a book called ‘The Teddy Bear,’” Caitlin said. “I like that story because it’s something we can all relate to. We’ve all had that stuffed animal we love to cuddle with at night. In this story, there is a little boy who takes the bear everywhere he goes. However, there’s a part in the story where the boy accidentally leaves the bear behind. I actually remember when I was a little kid, and I lost a stuffed animal, and I felt really sad about it.

“Later in the story, a homeless man finds the teddy bear in the trash. The homeless man is actually very happy when he finds the bear, because it makes him feel safe. This is important to share with these kids, because it reminds them that some people in this world don’t have a safe home to go to. This teddy bear is now the only thing the man possesses. It becomes his toy.

“One of the most powerful parts of the book is a scene where the man is shown actually digging through the garbage for food,” she said. “Similar to not having a safe home, it’s important for these kids to realize that homeless people sometimes can’t even get good quality food.

“Even though the boy is sad about losing his bear, he comes from a safe home, where he gets lots and lots of new toys. He has so many things to be grateful for, so he is able to move on.

“The bear misses the boy, too, but he soon grows fond of the homeless man. The important thing to realize is the bear still felt loved, albeit by a different person. Toward the end of the story, the man takes the teddy bear to the park, and places him on a bench while he goes to look for something. As this happens, the boy and his family walk by, and the boy sees his old teddy. They try to take the teddy back home, but are stopped when they hear the man crying for the bear. The man feels sad, because that was the only thing he had. Feeling sorry for the man, the boy takes the bear back to him. Obviously, this makes the homeless man feel very happy.

“When the boy gives the bear back to the man, it emphasizes the lesson of the story,’” Caitlin said. “When he does this, it makes the boy feel happy, even though it was hard for him. Sometimes, it can be hard to do something kind. Sometimes, we don’t want to do the right thing. However, after we do it, we feel good. This is just a really sweet story about kindness.”