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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lessons from a cookie

I have been away for a while visiting my sister. In my absence the kids (all except the tiny baby) stayed with their dad, playing, working outside, and generally having a great time.

While I was gone I worried - would they eat properly, would there be tears at bedtime, would they get behind in their schoolwork. . . you know, typical mother worries. All of them unfounded. Especially the school one.

I learned this truth from a cookie - a fortune cookie to be exact.

When I came home the kids happily told me of their adventures, lingering on a story of having a "real Chinese dinner" with Mr. Fred. They had ordered take-out and brought it to a friend's house. He allowed them to use his Chinese bowls and spoons for their meal, and informed them that they were not only allowed, but expected to slurp from their bowls. They happily obeyed and attentively listened to his stories of childhood in China, soaking up every word.

The fortune cookies from their meal were still in our kitchen when I arrived home, so I allowed the kids to open them as a snack. Here is what they said:

Man's mind is not a container to be filled, but rather a fire to be kindled.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

Those little slips of paper are up on my refrigerator now - and I think I'll leave them there for a while. I need a good dose of fortune cookie wisdom every now and then.

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