Archive for October, 2015

ruby slipper with pebble

Although author Frank L. Baum never mentioned a pesky pebble getting stuck in Dorothy’s slippers, I can’t imagine her walking all that way from Munchkin Land to the Emerald City without it happening.  It happens to all of us and usually at the worst time. (Is there ever a good time to get a pebble stuck in your shoe? I don’t think so.)

In life, unless you enjoy pain and suffering, you would stop as soon as possible and remove the pebble. However, on the YBR, a pebble is not a literal pebble, it’s a pesky metaphorical pebble…and as we all know, it is much harder to shake a metaphorical pebble from your shoe.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the meaning behind this metaphorical pebble. It’s whatever it is in our lives that distracts us. It’s that little thing that takes our mind off the more important things in our lives.  A good synonym for pebble might be a worry, primarily because it’s the worries in our lives that often cause us to get distracted.

It makes perfect sense to empty our shoes of real and metaphorical pebbles.

But this being the YBR where metaphors often masquerade for something other than what you think, there is another way to consider the pebble. I’ll explain by telling a story.

When I was a kid of seven or eight, I’ll never forget the pained look on my mother’s face when my father would arrive home after bending his elbow a bit too much at a bar. She didn’t have to say anything. I could see the map of sorry all over her face. Seeing that painful look on my mother’s face whenever my father came home inebriated, became a pebble, not in my shoe, but in my heart.

That pebble still resides in my heart even though my mother has been gone close to 30 years. It was a pebble that taught me to be aware of other people’s feelings. It taught me to be aware of looks of pain and sorrow that might appear on another person’s face no matter how hard they try to conceal it

On Dorothy’s journey on the YBR she was continually alert to signs of pain and sadness on the faces of her traveling companions. It made her who she was.

While I heartily endorse the idea of ridding our shoes of distracting pebbles, I think we become a little stronger when there might be a pebble or two in our hearts.  It brings out the Tin Man in us.


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no matter how small, is ever wasted. – Aesop

kindness kids

Whenever these cherubs get together, without any prompting, they give hugs to each other.

There must have been something in the air today because as I was driving home from my early morning college class, I was thinking about kindness only to learn that today (October 5, 2015) was anti-bullying day. While bullying  is as old as time, we have finally become smart enough to know that bullying in any fashion is wrong and should not be tolerated for a nanosecond.

Dorothy could well be a spokesperson for an anti-bullying campaign. She might not have been literally been bullied on her Kansas farm, but all that changed once she dropped in on Oz. She was bullied by the Wicked Witch who seemed to take delight in poking Dorothy along the yellow brick road. I don’t know  how she did it, but Dorothy used kindness to counteract the Witch’s bullying. It wasn’t until the end when Dorothy could not allow the Witch to bully her friends.  That’s when she took action.

Unfortunately here on planet earth when someone who has been bullied to the extreme too often either takes their own life or strikes out in rage.

Having circled the sun some 24,445 times I have learned a thing or two. I learned that bullying come in different forms. There is blatant bullying where the bully either openly taunts and teases his/her prey or resorts to the more subtle use of social media.  We are all familiar with this form of bullying.

But there is another form that gets little press.  It’s bullying by deliberately ignoring the victim.  Instead of teasing, taunting and making horrible FB posts, this bully resorts to passive/aggressive tactics. Instead of pushing a kid up against a locker in the hall, this kind of bully has a knack for making the victim feel invisible by not-including them in anything. Shutting someone out might not seem to be bullying, but when it is done deliberately, it is as mean and vindictive as open and blatant bullying.

It takes  a sixth sense to realize when someone is a victim of this form of bullying. Oddly enough it only takes an act of kindness to “include” this person rather than exclude them. A smile, some kind words, and sharing a cookie can make all the difference in the life of someone who is a victim of silent bullying.

We need to take action to end blatant bullying. We need to spread a little kindness to stop silent bullying.

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