(Photo and story by Shortstoriesshort.com)
When I started this blog, I had high hopes. But I must admit, there were many doubts too. Over the years I have seen this blog grow beyond my wildest dreams. And I have each and every visitor that comes to Cop-A-Squat or shares this blog with others, to thank for its huge success. I am mostly grateful to our Heavenly Father: without Him, none of our good fortune would have happened.
What can one man do? Quite a bit, if you look at the lives of some of the greatest men that ever lived. What can an army of men do with a solid purpose? Together they can move the world. Just like a bundle of sticks, there is more strength together than one stick alone.
As we enter a new year, what are your plans to change the world? What can you do to make a positive impact on others? We, at Cop-A-Squat, publish posts and books that we hope will entertain and inspire people to enjoy healthy reading, that hopefully will make reading more enjoyable and impact their lives in positive ways.
With every purchase of our books you are helping us change the world, one reader at a time. We can bring encouraging stories to the world, but we cannot do this alone. We need each and every one of you, because there is strength in unity – we ask you to join us on our journey.
I want to share an inspiring short story and a short video with you on the power of working together. See how the power of many makes all the difference.
Please enjoy the ‘Unity is Strength’ short story and its accompanying video. See you all in the coming months. We wish you all a Happy New Year.
The Cop-A-Squat Family
UNITY IS STRENGTH
Once, an old man was very ill and lay dying in his bed. He had four sons who were always fighting with each other. He always worried about them and wanted to teach them a lesson and asked his sons to come to him. When they came, the old man gave them a bundle of sticks and said, “Can you break these sticks?”
The first son tried to break the bundle but nothing happened. He tried very hard and finally gave up. Then it was the turn of the second son to try his luck. He thought it would be an easy task and picked up the sticks easily. He tried his best to break the sticks but nothing happened. Then, the third son tried to break the bundle of sticks, but he couldn’t do anything either.
Meanwhile, the youngest son jeered at his brothers and thought they were very incompetent. He thought he was very clever and took one stick at a time and easily broke all of them.
The old father then smiled at his sons and said, “Children, do you understand what happened? It is always easy to break the sticks one by one. But when they are bundled together, none of you could break them. In the same way, you four brothers should always be together. No one will be able to hurt you then.” The four brothers realized what their father was trying to teach them, forgetting all their enmity and learning that unity is strength.
From that day onwards, they never fought with each other and lived together in peace and harmony.
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. I pray you all have a safe holiday, while spending time with loved ones. Speaking of loved ones, here’s a story I’m sure will make you appreciate those you love even more. A word of warning: get some Kleenex; you’re going to need it.
The Gold Wrapping Paper – An Inspirational Short Christmas Story
Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.
As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.
Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”
As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.
But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”
The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”
The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.
An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.
In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
Whew. Gotcha, didn’t it? Leave a comment letting me know what you think about this wonderful, heartfelt story.
(Video by Albert Martin)
What would you give a man that saved your life? What would he ask of you? What if that man only wanted to love you and for you to love Him? Can you fathom such as man? No, you cannot. There are no words that can describe Him. He is truly indescribable. But His love for you can be defined with one word:
We should get to know Him. There’ll never be another so indescribable.
(Photo Credit- Kitone)
My father held the firm belief that kids should be seen and heard.
It was that conviction that afforded me the opportunities to sit in the company of him and his friends as they spewed both truths and lies.
Those storytellers made my young life fun. I’ll never forget them or their teachable moments.
And I’ll never forget the greatest storyteller of them all, my dad, or the last time I saw him.
On the last day I would ever see my dad alive, he wanted to walk with me to school. “What about work?” I asked. He said, “No work today, thought I’ll tag along on the way, catch up on old times, what do you think?”
At thirteen, I didn’t want to appear like some baby who needed his dad to escort him safely to class, but I didn’t want to disappoint him either, so I said, “Sure.”
It was an overcast day and as we walked my father told me tales both old and new. He had my full attention, until we came to the crosswalk at the somewhat busy intersection of Main and Central, one block from my school.
I hate that corner to this day.
“Okay, Dad. I’ll see you later,” I said as the light changed green, hoping he would take the hint to go back home. I didn’t want any of my friends to see him; man, I would have never heard the end of their big baby jokes.
I crossed, dad stayed put. No sooner than my foot hit the other side of the street, my dad called out, “Hey Paul, look!” There he was, doing his best impression of Charlie Chaplin. No doubt he had crossed in that fashion behind me and was now crossing back, doing his Chaplin bit.
“Good one Dad. See you later,” I waved and from the middle of the intersection he waved back. I continued on.
I felt it. That eerie feeling that something’s wrong, that feeling that you can never really explain later. But when I heard the screeching tires and the loud thud, I knew it was my dad.
I was right. He lay on the curb from where we both crossed. I ran and knelt next to him. Blood spilled from his mouth, his legs all twisted underneath him; he tried to pull himself up with his busted arms. I screamed for help. That’s when the driver, who hit my dad, got out his car and ran over to where we were.
With wide blood shot eyes the driver said, “I…I’m sorry kid.” He jumped back into his old green, beat up, rusted car and sped off.
Not sure if I should run back home for my mother, or stay with my dad, I just kept on screaming for help.
“Paul,” my dad said in his usual calm voice. His eyes looked so sleepy. “Now it’s you who have to tell the stories.” He closed his eyes and died right then and there.
The days that followed were tortuous. I didn’t want to go to school ever again, or any place for that matter. I just wanted my dad.
But I couldn’t miss school forever.
So I had to go back.
It was the longest, loneliest walk I ever made, except when we carried my dad’s casket to the grave.
Our dog Lincoln wanted to walk to school with me that morning, but I shooed him back home. That dog never listened to me and that cool morning he didn’t break protocol.
I wish he had.
Central and Main not only served as markers on my route to school, they were now a horrible memory. Needless to say, I crossed with extreme caution. Lincoln, who I had pelted with small stones and shouted “GO HOME!,” appeared in the middle of the intersection just as soon as I reached the other side.
One car came real close to hitting him, another stopped, cursed, then sped around him. When there were no other oncoming cars I stomped my foot and shouted, “LINCOLN, GO HOME!” He bobbed his head up and down and finally started to retreat. That’s when I heard the sound of screeching tires. I stepped off the curb shouting, “LINCOLN, GET OUT OF THE STREET!”
I was too late. The car hit him dead on, killing him on impact. I raced into the intersection. Lincoln was stretched out with his pink tongue hanging out of his mouth.
The driver, the SAME one in the old, rusty green car jumped out and ran over to us. He rubbed his grey beard and with those wide blood shot eyes said, “Oh, boy, sorry kid,” and jumped back in his car and sped off.
I was never going back to school again.
All I had left of Lincoln was the medium size mound in our backyard.
A week later my mother was called to duty on NASA’S Apollo 17. The flight was to be piloted by my mom. She took me aboard; NASA understood.
I never saw more beautiful stars like the ones I saw in space. Mom looked over at me and smiled, happy that after so much pain we now had something to smile about.
That’s when I heard a screeching sound. I remember thinking, “No way!,” as I looked to our left that same crappy green, busted up, rusty car T-boned us on the driver side. The impact tore my mom from her seat belt and threw her through the windshield. She landed on the tip of a nearby star. I made my way over to her. She was lifeless and now, so was I.
The driver leaped from his car and drifted over to where we were. He ran his hand over the top of his space helmet. “Kid,” he shook a disciplining finger at me, “We got to stop meeting like this, it ain’t healthy.” He floated back to his car and sped off.
If you like this tale, please click on the link for more. Thank you.
Imagine. You’re invited to an extravagant party. When you arrive, you and a party of eleven strangers are escorted to a gorgeous, lavish table with an enormous silver bowl filled with twelve white envelopes. Your curiosity is piqued when the host reveals that inside each envelope is five thousand dollars.
Suddenly, the host is called away for an important phone call. Before leaving the room, he informs that each of you can have one of the envelopes. But if you can wait until he returns, he will double what is inside the envelope. “For those who can’t wait,” he says, “take an envelope and feel free to leave. And thank you for coming.”
Under an unknown watch, the wait begins. One hour – two impatient guests retrieve their prize and quickly leave.
Two hours – four more guests hastily scoop up their gifts and head for the door.
Six hours – two tapping their fingers on table, look around the room, reach into the bowl, take their envelopes and leave.
Ten hours – murmurs of “how long do we have to wait. I’m tired. I’m hungry. This is dumb. Why would he invite us and not even feed us.” Two more exit.
The eleventh hour. You look over and smile at the only remaining guest across from you-just you and him. Standing up, looking around, he tips his hat, reaches into the bowl, wags the envelope and waves goodbye.
The sun is coming up, beaming through the stunning picture windows. You glance at your watch. It’s been twelve hours since you walked into the room. Tired, discouraged, you think about reaching for the last envelope. But you resist.
Over your shoulder, out of the corner of your eye, you see a figure. The host walks up. He smiles. He hands you twelve white envelopes, one for you and one for every guest that left early. His chauffer drives you home – it was worth the wait. Now imagine this same scenario with a bunch of third graders. Instead of white envelopes, the prize is a big bowl of marshmallows, your child’s favorite. Could he delay the urge to eat? He might if he reads Don’t Eat the Marshmallows… Yet!
For this Good Friday, my son and I read this story. Encouraging him to be more like the last guy – delaying gratification. I want him to understand you can reap bountiful rewards in life if you can delay personal gratification. Is it hard? Sure! Is it worth it? Definitely. I shared with him Dave Ramsey’s motto, “IF YOU WILL LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE, LATER YOU CAN LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE.” And he will, if he learns to eat the marshmallows, but just not yet.
I invite you to tell us your GOOD FRIDAY story; in the meantime, help yourself.