It?s easy to think that bedtime stories are for kids. It?s weird for a 15y/o to head over to their parent’s room and asked for story time. ? After spending the summer with my 4 y/o niece, and reading many bedtime stories, I love how it teaches life lessons in such simple language.
Stories are recognizable patterns, and in those patterns we find meaning.
Here are 7 short moral stories (classics, short stories and videos) that have taught me big lessons in my life.
There?s an old riddle that says five frogs are sitting on a lily pad. One decides to jump off. How many are left?
Photo by Victor Rodriguez on Unsplash
If your answer is ?four?, thank your maths teacher for your excellent maths skills. Unfortunately, this is not a test of your maths abilities.
It?s a life problem.
The correct answer is ?five?. Yes, all five are still sitting there on the lily pad.
The one frog only decided to jump but hasn?t.
Life is not a spectator sport; it?s indeed a contact sport. and there are no practice sessions, and you?ve been in the game from day one.
As cliche as it seems ?The journey starts with a single step? ? not by thinking about taking that step.
Moral: Be the frog who not only decides to jump off the lily pad but actually jumps.
Habit #2: Overconfidence will often be punished by embarrassing failure.
You know the old fable of the Tortoise and the Hare:
Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster.
They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race.
The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then, seeing he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he?d sit down and rest for a while before continuing the race. He sat down under a tree and soon fell fast asleep.
The tortoise, plodding along, soon overtook him, passed him, crossed the finish line, and won the race.
The hare woke up and realized he?d lost.
Many people will conclude that Slow and Steady win the race. When I read the story, I feel that the real lesson is not about the tortoise at all, it?s about the hare.
The hare made a huge mistake, believing in its ability but then not actually proving it. In real life, you may have that great skill, one which everyone agrees, but you must still showcase that skill to win the competition.
Moral: Success depends on using your talents, not just having them.
Habit #3: Put down the negativity.
When I first watched this video, as the professor poured the water into a glass, I expected him to ask the typical ?glass half empty or glass half full? question. Instead, the professor asked, ?How heavy is this glass of water?? Students shouted out answers ranging from eight ounces to sixteen ounces.
Video by Meir Kay
He replied, ?The absolute weight of this glass doesn?t matter. It all depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute or two, it?s fairly light. If I hold it for an hour straight, its weight might make my arm ache a little. If I hold it for a day straight, my arm will likely cramp up and feel completely numb and paralyzed, forcing me to drop the glass to the floor. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn?t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it feels to me.?
As the class shook their heads in agreement, he continued, ?Your stresses and worries in life are very much like this glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and you begin to ache a little. Think about them all day long, and you will feel completely numb and paralyzed ? incapable of doing anything else until you drop them.?
This is a true analogy for many millennials including myself. I want to remind ourselves to take a chill pill. I know dozens of people in their mid-20?s who are literally working away the best decade of life because they want to be a hustler and achieve financial freedom.
While there?s nothing wrong with working hard, you shouldn?t sacrifice your quality of life for a big paycheck.
Moral: It?s important to remember to let go of your stresses and worries. Live life!
Habit #4: Believe good things will happen, and they will.
Despite it being an advertisement ?, I really love the concept behind such Thai commercials, try watching them without crying will be hard! Try it!
Unsung Heroes ad by Thai Life Insurance
How many times have you gone out of your way to help someone in need?
This is a video where the protagonist demonstrates how small acts of kindness every day make genuine differences in the lives of others. A neglected plant gets a little extra water, an old lady gets a helping hand, and a needy child gets money for education. In return for his good deeds, he doesn?t get any materialistic rewards but the happiness is far more valuable.
Moral: Do what you can to help people in need, because there?s nothing more heartwarming than seeing their emotions.
Habit #5: Cultivate a burning desire backed by faith.
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash
Once a young man asked the wise man, Socrates, the secret to success. Socrates patiently listened to the man?s question and told him to meet him near the river the next morning for the answer. The next morning Socrates asked the young man to walk with him towards the river. As they went in the river the water got up to their neck. But to the young man?s surprise, Socrates ducked him into the water.
The young man struggled to get out of the water, but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled the man?s head out of the water. The young man gasps and took a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, ?What did you want the most when your head was in the water?? The young man replied, ?Air.? Socrates said, ?That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air while you were in the water, then you will get it. There is no other secret.?
Moral: A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishment. Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce great results.
Habit #6: Never lie? to yourself, your friends or anyone.
Once upon a time, there lived a shepherd boy who was bored watching his flock of sheep on the hill. To amuse himself, he shouted, ?Wolf! Wolf! The sheep are being chased by the wolf!? The villagers came running to help the boy and save the sheep. They found nothing and the boy just laughed looking at their angry faces.
?Don?t cry ?wolf? when there?s no wolf boy!?, they said angrily and left. The boy just laughed at them.
After a while, he got bored and cried ?wolf!? again, fooling the villagers a second time. The angry villagers warned the boy a second time and left. The boy continued watching the flock. After a while, he saw a real wolf and cried loudly, ?Wolf! Please help! The wolf is chasing the sheep. Help!?
But this time, no one turned up to help. By evening, when the boy didn?t return home, the villagers wondered what happened to him and went up to the hill. The boy sat on the hill weeping. ?Why didn?t you come when I called out that there was a wolf?? he asked angrily. ?The flock is scattered now?, he said.
An old villager approached him and said, ?People won?t believe liars even when they tell the truth. We?ll look for your sheep tomorrow morning. Let?s go home now?.
Moral: Lying breaks trust. Nobody trusts a liar, even when he is telling the truth.
Habit #7: Remember to care for those who matter.
Yet another Thai commercial, this time on the topic of family.
?Silence of love? shows the sacrifices a deaf-mute father makes for his daughter, despite facing numerous rejections from her teenage daughter who thinks her father doesn?t understand her. I urge all of you to treasure your family members and thank them for being there no matter what you are going through in your life.
Moral: Family ? where life begins and Love never ends.
Learning is never finished. Some of these lessons come from experience, yet there are others that we learn watching others or reading in books or watching videos. Hope you have learnt something today! Cheers, Shuxin. ?