Discussion Guide

I have often lead discussion groups based on the stories in my book – Sardines, Cheese and Soda Crackers: Reflections From a Country Girl.  With this in mind, I have developed a discussion guide for each of the 63 stories.  You are welcome to copy these and use them for groups with children or adults.  They can easily be adapted for either.  Best wishes on your work and interactions with those you help along your path.    

Sardines, Cheese and Soda Crackers: Reflections From a Country Girl

 

Guidance and Language Arts Lessons

Introduction – Tinks  

When sad things happen in families

When a baby dies in a family

Looking at life in a positive way

What sad things happened in this story?

The mother and father lost two babies – has anyone ever had something like this happen in their family?  How did the family handle it?

How did the family handle the sad things that happened in their lives?

How does the daughter – Tinks – look at life? 

Do you think her way of looking at things is good? Why or why not?

What did you learn from this story that you can use in your life?

 

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time their family experienced something sad and tell how the family dealt with that.  Discuss a few of the stories if time permits emphasizing why learning from situations helps up deal with life effectively and discuss the importance of remembering the good things about someone who has died.   

Let’s Go for a Ride 

Friendships

When someone is wronged – how to deal with the situation

Does one’s personal religious beliefs play a part in problem solving?

 What kind of fun did the girl have in this story?

 What was scary to the girl as she rode in the wagon?

 What did she learn from Mr and Mrs Long?  

 Are there lessons you learned from this story?  If so, what are they?

Writing activity:  Have participants write a story about someone they enjoy being with. If time permits, let those who want to share their writing with the class. Discuss how to handle situations effectively and how differences in one’s background and culture sometimes means handling things differently than you might handle them.  

Minding the Fields

Careers – farming

Friendships

Love

Death

Religious beliefs

What did the little girl notice about the farming couple as she watched they work and live?

What qualities of the couple did the little girl notice?

What did the little girl thing about after the man died?

What did you learn from this story?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a person they loved that died and tell what they remember most about them.  If time permits, let volunteer participants share their stories and discuss – emphasizing that respecting religious diversity is important. 

Chain Gang

Being kind to others

What was one of the little girl’s favorite things her mother cooked for the family?

What did the little girl do for the men who were working at the road?

What was Jed making that caused him not to eat his lunch?

What surprise did Jed leave for the little girl?

What did you learn from this story?

 

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time someone did something kind for you and how did that make them feel?  OR write about a time they did something kind for someone else and how did that make them feel?  If time permits, have some participants who want to share their story with the class.  Discuss. 

Additional writing activity:  Have participants write a thank you note to someone that did something kind for them.  Have them practice addressing an envelope and, if possible, mail the thank you note. Discuss why this effort is important. 

The Law at my House

Breaking the law

Consequences

Doing the right thing

Who woke the girl up early one morning?

What happened with the old woman and her husband?

What kind of decision did the woman and man have to make?

Why did they make that decision?

Do you think it was a hard choice to make?

What did the little girl learn from that experience?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time when they had to make a tough decision to tell the truth or tell on someone because they broke the law or the rules. If time permits – allow participants who want to to share their story. Discuss the importance of responsible decision making and consequences for bad choices. 

Washin the Cat

Love of animals

Farm and outdoor animals

Taking care of your pets

What kind of animals did the little girl live around?

Do you like those kind of animals?

What did she do to the cat?

What happened to her because of that?

What should you do with your pet if you have one?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a pet they have or did have.  If they don’t have a pet, ask them to write about a friend who has a pet.  Share stories as time permits.  Discuss the importance of taking care of your pet.

Hoeing

Being careful around animals that live in the wild

What was one of the girl’s favorite things to do at home?

What kind of creatures lived near her home?

How did she deal with them when she found them? Was that dangerous?  Why or why not?

How should you handle an animal that lives in the wild? 

 

Writing activity:  Have participants write about their encounter with an animal that lives in the wild or tell what they would do if they came across an animal in the wild.

Cornbread at the Trantham’s  

The importance of friends

Making sure you have permission to visit friends

What did the girl like about the Trantham family?

What important lessons did she learn from them?

What favorite food did she share with them when she visited?

Writing Activity: Have participants write about a favorite visit with friends.  Make sure they tell what was special about those visits.

The Most Famous Homer in my Family

Sports

Hurting someone you love

Hospitalization of a loved one

What activity did the neighborhood children like to participate in together?

What happened to the girl’s brother?  Did she mean to hurt him?

How do you think she and her sister felt?

How did things change after her brother came back from the hospital?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time they or someone they love got hurt or went to the hospital.  Did things change after that?  How?  If time permits, share some of the stories.  Discuss. 

Getting my Religion             

How religion plays a part of your life

Respecting other religions

Living together peacefully and respectfully

How did the girl discover religion in her life?

Do all people experience religion like she did? 

What kind of experience have you had with religion?  Is it the same or different?  

Is it important to respect other religions and the people who believe in them?  Why?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about their experience with religion.  Be mindful that there are those who have not experienced religion and that is ok.  If there are those who say they do not have a religious preference, have them write about why it is important to have freedom of religion.  

Sweeping the Yard

Being careful around animals that live in the wild

What was one of the girl’s favorite things to do at home?

What kind of creatures lived near her home?

How did she deal with them when she found them? Was that dangerous?  Why or why not?

How should you handle an animal that lives in the wild? 

 

Writing activity:  Have participants write about their encounter with an animal that lives in the wild or tell what they would do if they came across an animal in the wild.

Saving Mama’s Medicine

Tornadoes

Dangerous weather and making plans for dealing with it

Dreams

Making sure parents know where you are at all times

What dream did the girl have for years?

What kind of weather did the girl experience?

What was scary about it?

Where did she hide?

What did she take with her to that hiding place?

Should she have told her family where she was?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about about a scary time with the weather they have had.   If they have not had one, get them to write about a plan they could make with their loved ones if bad weather comes. Discuss and process some of their stories.  Emphasize the importance of keeping yourself safe in bad weather and 

Showering with the Spiders

Humor

Being scared

What did the girl experience in her country home shower?

Was she scared? Would you be?

What would you do if you saw a spider in the shower today?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a spider they encountered OR a scary experience that made them scream.  Discuss and process some of the stories of time permits. 

Chicken House Garden

Playtime

Safety issues 

Pretend

Spring flowers

What did the girl like to do when she had playtime?

Was the girl free to do whatever she wanted?  

How were the rules she lived by different than the ones you have today?

What safety concerns would your parents have with any of the things the girl did during her playtime? What are the rules in your home when it comes to playing?

What did the girl wait for in the spring with the chickens?

Writing activity: Have participants write about what they like to do when they have playtime and tell if there are safety rules they have to follow when they play. If time permits discuss some of the stories.  

Old Blackie    

Playing an instrument

Taking music lessons

Family treasures

Relatives that love and care for us

What was the instrument that the girl in this story was able to take lessons on?

Why was the instrument so important to her?

Who paid for her lessons?

Does she still plays it today?  Do you think others play it today?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a special gift a relative gave to them.  If they say they do not have a story about that, ask them to write about another special family treasure or a relative that they know cares about them a great deal.  If time permits, share a few stories and discuss.

Laughing at His Funeral 

Friendship

Sexual molestation

Importance of telling when someone is inappropriate with you

Who was the girl’s best friend?

Did she trust the girl’s father?

Do most father’s do things like this one did?

Do you understand why she did not tell her parents what was going on?

Would there have been people at school or your home you could trust to tell if something like that was happening to you?

What is the best thing to do today when this kind of thing is going on?

Do you know what good touch/bad touch is?  Explain.

What have you learned from our discussion today?

Writing activity: Have participants write about what they should do if someone is doing something to them that is not comfortable. Ask if there are those that would read theirs.  Discuss. 

The Maddest I Ever Got          

Anger – how to handle it

Motivation

When someone says something unkind about you

Going to college

What did the girl overhear someone say about her?

Why did she get angry?

Was she right to talk with her parents about why she was mad?

What was she motivated to do?

Do you think she did the right thing when she sent invitations to the person that made her mad?

What would you have done?

What did you learn from her experience?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time when they heard someone say something that made them mad and ask them to write about what they did.  If time permits, ask those who will to share their story.  Discuss. 

Rothrocks

Careers: Mechanic

Lifelong friends

People you trust

What were the things the girl liked about the man she would go visit with her father?

What did he do for a living?

Did she trust him?

Would you trust him?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about someone they know that they trust like Mr. Rothrock.  They should write at least three reasons they like and trust that person.  If time permits, take the time to listen to a few stories and discuss. 

Fast Cars and Country Girls

Learning to drive

Making a poor decision

Being responsible for making poor decisions

Safety

What did the girl do when she was 13?

Do you think it would be fun to be able to drive?

How long will it be before you can drive out on the highway?

What poor decision did the girl make?

Was she acting responsibly?

Did she learn from her mistake?

What did you learn from this story?

Writing activity: Have participants tell about a time when they or someone they know made a bad decision about driving. Make sure they say how they handled it.  If time permits, ask for volunteers to read their story and discuss. 

Sardines, Cheese and Soda Crackers

Favorite foods

Favorite things to do with a parent

Friends

Memories

What did the girl like to do with her father?

What were her favorite foods to eat while she was doing that?

What did her friend like to make to eat?

What do you think that food is made from?

Writing exercise:  Ask participants to write down what two ingredients they think the “redneck cheesecake” is made from.  Get them to read their results.  (it really is a fresh honeybun with thin layers of sharp cheddar cheese melted on top in the microwave).  If you have time, make some for the participants to sample.

Pumping Cores

Careers that no longer exist – Pumping Cores

First jobs

Being responsible employees

What did the girl do with her father when one of the workers didn’t show up?

Did she like helping out?

What other kind of jobs do you know about that are not jobs today? Discuss.

What do you think you need to do when you are working to be a good employee?

What could cause someone to get fired from a job?

Writing Exercise: Have participants write about what you want to be when you grow up and tell about what you will need to do to be good at that job. Time permitting, ask participants to share their writing and discuss. 

Nothing is Impossible           

Believing in yourself and your talents

Meeting new people in a strange place

Setting positive goals for yourself

Running for a political position

Working against the odds

When this young lady went to college – what were the obstacles she knew she would encounter?

How did she handle those obstacles?

How did she succeed?

What did you learn from this story that you can use in your life?

Writing Exercise:  Have participants write about challenges they have had and how they overcame them.  Time permitting, as a participant or two to share their story and discuss. 

Sparkin’

Enjoying friends

Trying new things

What did the girl and her friends do to spend time that evening?

How did she feel about going?

Was it fun?

Have you ever sparked? Either show or tell participants what sparkin is (take two or three wintergreen lifesavers in mouth, in a completely dark room, and crunch on them…they will spark!)

Writing Exercise:  Have participants write about a fun time they had with their friends.  If time permits, have some of them share their stories and discuss why it’s important to surround yourself with positive friends who do fun, but safe, things. 

My First Love

First loves

 

Where did this girl meet her first love?

What did she like about him?

Did this first love last?

What were some of the challenges?

What did she learn from this experience?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about their first love.  If they have not experienced that yet, have them write about someone they know who has a special story about their first love OR ask them to go home and ask parents or grandparents about their first love and write about that.  If time permits, let some of them read their story and discuss – emphasizing the positive qualities and also how the challenges were handled effectively. 

The Tennis Court Invitation

Tennis

Positive dating experiences

Meeting someone new

Setting limitations for yourself on the dating scene

Where did this girl meet someone who liked to play tennis?

Did she make sure she was going to spend time with someone who was not married?  How did she do that?

Is it important in a new relationship to set rules and limits? Why or Why not.

What are some limitations people set when they are dating?

How did the girl know that this man may be a good one to keep dating?

 

Writing experience: Have participants write down what they have learned from this story.  If time permits, have participants share their answers.  Discuss – emphasizing healthy dating habits.  

A Broken Rubber Band    

Finding humor in daily situations

Defining emotions

What did the visitor take the time to make and bring to the house?

What happened in the kitchen that day?

Would you have been scared if the mouse was in your kitchen? Would other family members be scared of that mouse?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about a time something funny happened at their house. What emotions did they use during that experience? If time permits, have a few students who are willing to share their story and discuss what emotions they used. 

Pickin’ out My Casket  

The important of planning ahead for funerals

Finding the humor in daily situations

Where did the couple go that day?  Why?

What did the young lady do that was funny?

Can you do that today if you wanted to?

Has anyone in your family planned a funeral, made a will, or other kind of arrangements like this couple did?

Do you think it’s a good thing to plan like this?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time someone in their family died.  DId they got to the funeral?  What do they remember about that?  If they have not participated in a funeral, ask them to write down what they learned from this story. If time permits, discuss stories of those willing to read theirs and point out the benefits from making plans before hand.

Gettin’ Hitched on April Fools Day      

Funny times planning and being at a wedding

Taking yourself too seriously

Humor

Stress

What happened with the couple that Wednesday night?

Was his family happy?

Why did they decide to get married on April Fools Day?

What happened at the rehearsal dinner that was amusing?

How did the young lady handle that surprise?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a funny time in their lives that could have been embarrassing for someone.  If time permits, have a few read their story and point out how people make the best of the situation instead of blowing it out of proportion. 

The Anniversary Blindfold 

Surprises in a relationship – how much fun they can be

Fond memories

Romance

What was something the lady enjoyed about her husband?

What did he to her before they left on a trip?

How do you think she felt?

What have you learned in this story that you could use?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time when they saw a husband or wife do something special for each other.  If they can not remember a story about this, ask them to write about something they would appreciate having done for them by someone they love and care for.  If time permits, encourage a few participants to read their stories.  Discuss and highlight how the person felt, how they think that would have an impact on the relationship, etc. 

Back Hoeing with the Judge

Learning new skills

Enjoying a good friendship

The challenges of being in the public eye

What are some challenges for this minister’s wife?

How did she handle those challenges?

What kind of adventure did the wife participate in?

What are some things she liked about being a minister’s wife?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about one thing new they learned in the past year.  When possible, ask for volunteers to read their story.  Discuss how learning new things keeps life interesting and how challenges can actually help you grow stronger. 

The Button

Taking a vacation

Enjoying adventure

Being honest

Telling stories

What activity was important for this young wife and her husband?

What happened at the theatre?

Did she try to return the button?  What happened?

What did she do when the button?  Do you think she still has it?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about a vacation or visit to a relatives’ home that was special to them.  What did they enjoy most about it.  Take some time to discuss a few of these times and why even small things can be a special memory. 

Just Let Out A Squeal!

Helping others

Friendships

Humor           

What kept getting out of Mr. Johnson’s fence?

Who helped him with the problem?

How did religious beliefs play a part in this story?

Would everyone stop and help out a farmer like Mr. Johnson?  Would you?

How do you think Mr. Johnson felt about the help he received?

 

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about a time they helped someone out who needed them.  If time permits, have volunteers read their story and lead a discussion that emphasizes the importance of helping others in time of need and how friendships can develop from doing a good deed for others.

 

Tissue Paper Bug

Gifts from children

Bugs

Humor

What did the little boy in this story make for his parents?

What did the parents do with their gifts?

What did the mother hear in the middle of the night that made her scared?

What did she do when she found out there was a bug nearby?

Would you react to a waterbug like that?  Why or why not?

 

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time they made a handmade gift for a family member or friend.  What was it?  What happened when they gave it to that person?  OR Have participants write about a time they were around a bug that scared them.  Discuss a few of these writings if time permits. 

 

 

Bows, Chicken Bones & the Power of Love 

Family love

Illness

Memories Death

What people with special needs can teach us

 

Who was Scott and what was unusual about him?

What was Scott’s favorite food?  What did he do with that food?

How could Scott’s mother tell it was going to rain outside?

In what ways did Scott enjoy life?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about someone with special needs that they know and how that person seems to enjoy life.  If they do not know of anyone with special needs, ask them to tell about a time when a family member or friend was ill or died and what memories does the participant have of that time.  If time permits, have volunteers read their story and discuss memories and how special needs people can teach us about life. 

Don’t Touch Those Lights! 

Spirits

Memories

Unexplained occurrences

 

What happened after Scott died that was unexplained?

How did the mother, father, and son handle that occurrence?

What events happened at around the holidays that reminded the family of Scott?

Were the events scary?

Do you believe in spirits?

How did those events help the family with their loss?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about a time they lost a family member to death.  Did they have any events happen that reminded them of the person that died?  Was it scary?  Was it a peaceful event?  Take time to process several of the stories and talk about how experiencing things that remind of our loved one can be positive for us as we adjust to our loss. 

Cornbread Conversations

Bringing a new boyfriend to meet close friends

Recognizing the gifts and talents of others 

Embracing others in their time of sorrow/need

The importance of writing letters. 

What did the girl like to do when she visited her friend, Clara?

Was Clara smart?  How?

Did the girl trust Clara? How?

Who wrote a letter to the young lady when her baby died?  

How did the young lady feel about that letter?

Does she still have that letter?  Why?

Writing exercise:  Have participants remember the time they wrote a note or letter to someone or received a letter or note from someone.  How did you feel about that?  Have someone share their story if time permits and discuss the importance of receiving and writing letters. 

Additional writing exercise:  Have participants write a letter to someone they care about.  Help them address an envelope, put the return address in the left corner, stamp it and mail it.  

The Desk

Family treasures

Stories about items in your home

People who care about you and how they made a difference

How people heal after losing a family member

What does the young lady in the story cherish in her home? Why?

Who gave her the desk? 

What was the story about that desk?

Why was her Aunt so important in her life? 

How was her Aunt important to others?

 

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about someone in their life that has made a real difference to them.  Remind them to list the reasons why.  If time permits, have volunteers read their stories.  Discuss with an emphasis on the simple ways you can show others you care and make a difference in their lives.  

The First Phone call I got from My Father

Unexpected phone calls or visits

Developing a good relationship with your parents

Being compassionate to your parents and others

Walking in someone else’s shoes

Resolving issues with family members 

Why was the young lady shocked when she heard who was on the other end of the phone?

Did she enjoy the conversation?

What happened shortly after she talked to that person?

Why was she glad he had called?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about a time they had a good conversation with someone they really care about.  Encourage them to make sure they tell why that was so important to them.  If time permits, have volunteers read their stories and discuss the importance of communications, resolving problems with family members and friends, and being compassionate to others. 

The Importance of a Card

Caregiving for someone who is ill

Sending cards to those who are sick

Finding out you have a terminal illness

Maintaining a positive attitude when you are ill

How to love and care for someone who is ill 

 

What medical challenges did the man in the story have?

How did he handle having a terminal illness?

How did his family handle living with someone with a terminal illness?

What did family and friends do that was very meaningful to the man? How do you think he felt?

Have you ever written a card to someone who was very ill?

Writing activity: Have participants write about someone who was ill and what he/she saw family and friends doing for the person.  If he/she wrote a card, tell about that. When time permits, have volunteers read their story and discuss the importance of sending a card to others when they are sick. 

Additional writing activity:  Have participants make and write a card to someone who is ill.  Have them address an envelop, stamp it and mail the card. 

Signs

Making decisions when times are tough

Knowing when a change is the right thing to do

Recognizing that change is good

What did the mother do when she realized her son’s experience in first grade was not going well for him?

Did the mother get the “sign” she was looking for to know she had done the right thing? What was that “sign”?

Do people always get clear signs that a choice they made was a good one?

What have you learned here that you can use in your life today?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time when they weren’t sure they made the right decision and they got a sign that is was a good or bad choice. Ask them to make sure they tell how they handled that situation and tell what they learned from it. If time permits, ask for volunteers to read their story and discuss how making good decisions gets better and better the more you practice.  Talk about how to be responsible for a bad decision and how to learn from mistakes. 

The Balloon      

Strategies for adjusting after the death of a loved one

The importance of giving family and friends time to heal at their own

pace after the loss of a loved one

Remembering loved ones on their birthday and at holidays

What did the seven year old son ask to do to remember his father on his birthday?

What did the florist do as a kind gesture to the son?

How do you think mother and son felt that day after completing the task?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time they felt sad about the loss of a family member or friend.  Did they do something special to remember them?  If you have participants who have not lost someone special, have them write about what they think they might do if someone died to remember them.  If time permits and you have volunteers, let them read their story and discuss the importance of doing things to remember others.  

The Wisdom of a Flower        

Friendships

Bad weather 

Hope

What country did this take story take place in? 

How did new friends meet?

What did the new friends do on a daily basis?

What came up in the garden that the friends watched together?

What happened to the garden when the storm came?

Did the friends feel hopeless after the storm or not?  If not, why?

What did they do after the storm?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time when they felt hopeless and tell how they handled it.  If they have not personally felt that way, have them tell about what they would do if they ever found themselves feeling a bit hopeless.  If there are volunteers willing to share their stories, have a few share and discuss why one never has to feel helpless for very long….that there are always those who love and care for them that will help.  

All I Ever Wanted to Know about Shagging

Cultural differences

Humor

What country was the group from that was visiting the young woman?

What did shagging mean in the other country?

What embarrassing thing did the disc jockey try to get the girls to do?

How did the young lady handle it when she realized she had asked them to do something that was not culturally accepted in their country?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time when they did something embarrassing by mistake.  If they never had, as them to tell about a cultural difference they know about between them and someone they know.  If time permits, have a few volunteers read their story.  Discuss. 

The Promise            

Pets

Promises

Giving a captive animal his/her freedom

Letting go of someone when they are ready to be free

What promise had the mother made to her son?

Did she keep her promise?

What did they name the new family member?

What did the son decide to do one day?

Was it a good choice?

Was it a harder to do than he thought?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about two things they learned from this story.  If there is time, have volunteers share their thoughts and discuss the importance of pets, promises, and giving peeple and animals their freedom. 

Sylvester and the Manic Mama

Pets

Lost Pets

Humor

Caring for Pets

What pet did the little boy have?

What did he name him?

What happen when his pet went missing?

How long was he missing?

What funny thing happened when they found the pet?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a pet they have had and something funny that happened with the pet.  If participants did not have a pet, get them to tell about one they might like to have and how they would take care of it. Ask for volunteers to read a story about their pet and discuss, emphasizing the importance of caring for pets we may have. 

HamsterAnna Jones

Pets

Pets as move stars

Caring for pets

Favorite movies

Play

What pet did the boy have?

What did he name his pet?

What was one of the favorite things he liked to do with his pet?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a pet they have had and something funny that happened with the pet.  If participants did not have a pet, get them to tell about one they might like to have and how they would take care of it. Ask for volunteers to read a story about their pet and discuss, emphasizing the importance of caring for pets we may have. 

Rockin’ Around the USA

Traveling as a family

Collecting things

Taking pictures

Memory books

What did the mother and son do that was an adventure?

What did they take with them that helped in time of trouble?

What did they start collecting and what did they do with them when they got home?

Writing activity:  Have participants talk about a trip they took with family.  If time allows, have volunteers read about their trip. 

A Red Tulip Day

Remembering a loved one that has died

Planning when someone is ill

Planting flowers

Holiday memories

What did the couple do when they found out he was dying?

Would this be a good thing to do even if you were not ill?

What did the man love to do when they were traveling?

What did the woman like to do in the yard?

Was she a good gardner?

What surprise awaited the mother and son one Easter morning a few years later?

What did you learn from this story?

Writing activity:  Have participants tell about a favorite thing they like to do with someone who is important to them. If time permits, allow volunteers to read their story.  Talk about how those things are important in life and that one should do as many positive things as possible with ones they love. 

Taxes and the Charlotte Hornets

Income taxes

Basketball

Being spontaneous

Kindness of strangers

What was the mother and son coming back from when they stopped for lunch?

What did the boy want to do but they could not get tickets for?

What did the stranger say he and his friends were going to do?

Where did the mother and son go with the strangers?

Writing activity:  Have participants tell about a time when someone did something kind for them or their family.  Time permitting, have volunteers share their story and discuss  with an emphasis on kindness, doing something at the last minute, and the importance of letting others know how much you appreciate their kindness. 

Have You Ever Seen a Rainbow in the Middle of the Night?

Nature experiences

Rainbows – the longest one recorded

Good fun with friends

What happened one night that was unusual to the friends?

Did they try to take a picture of the event?  Did it work?

Do you think everyone remembered that night?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time when something special happened  outside that they remember doing with their family or friends.  Discuss why it’s important to surround yourself with family and friends that do healthy things together as a group.  

Let’s go Get Lost

Traveling

Adventure

Going for a ride in the country

Taking children on an outing

What was one of the favorite memories the mother had about her family?

What did the mother and son love to do together?

Is it ok to get lost sometimes?

What did you learn about yourself from this story?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time they went on an adventure.  If time permits, have volunteers share their stories.  Discuss. 

A Family of 62

Large families

Pets

Taking care of your pets

Giving your pets their freedom

Is the family a large family in this story?

Who did the family “take in” that added 62 more living creatures to their family?

Was it important to take care of the new family members daily?  Why?

Did the family give the 62 new members their freedom?  Why?

Do you think they missed the 62?  Why? Why not?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about new family members in their family – people or pets…their family or an extended family or friends is fine.  If time permits, allow volunteers to read their story and discuss the responsibility of new family members and the importance of taking good care of them.  

Truckin’ to School

Driving

Adventure in a new vehicle

Fun with the family

Safety

What did the mother want one day?

What did the mother do that surprised the son?

Did he like what she did?

Did his friends like what she did?

 

Writing activity:  Have participants write about something fun they did with their parents.  If time permits, have volunteers read their stories and discuss – focusing on the importance of having fun with the family and being safe while doing so. 

The Piano Man

Famous people we see

Watching others

Responsible behavior at large gatherings

Memories

Where did the mother and child go together in this story?

What did they enjoy doing with the people around them?

Did the concert bring back memories for the mother?

Did they have fun together?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about something fun they did with their parents or other trusted family members.  If time permits, have volunteers read their stories and discuss – focusing on the importance of having fun with the family and being safe and responsible while doing so.

 

 The Psychic

Meeting new and interesting people

Traveling

Unusual happenings

What did this young lady do when she arrived in Arizona?

Where did she go?

Did she know anyone there?

Who did she meet?

What kind of jobs did the two ladies she met have?

What surprising thing did the psychic say about friends of hers?

Did she tell the friends what she learned?

How did they react?

Writing activity: Have participants write about someone they know who has an unusual job or has had an experience with a psychic.  If time permits, have volunteers tell their stories about unusual people or the jobs. Emphasis the importance of being safe while traveling alone and meeting new people.

The Sleeping Lady of Hyannis Port

Seeing others who have a deep love for each other

Seeing the beauty of things around us

What did the young lady see when she was visiting New England?

What were the two people doing?

Why was it so important to the young lady that she go back and look again?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time when they saw two people who loved each other doing something special for the other person they were with.  If time permits, have volunteers read their story and discuss how simple things you do for someone is so important. Encourage participants to do something nice for someone they love that day. 

 

Bingo with Mickey

Going on a family vacation with friends

Doing something spontaneous

Enjoying life

Where and with who did you lady go on a vacation with?

What happened on the ship that caused the lady to be excited?

Did she tell her friends about her adventure?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a time something good happened to them.  Encourage them to write about what happened and how others responded.  Make sure you discuss the importance of enjoying life, being willing to do something spontaneous sometimes, and going on a vacation with family or friends whenever it works.  

Hoisting the Hammock

Work vacations

fun working together with friends or family on a project

Memories

Working together to accomplish a task

What fond memories did the young lady have about hammocks?

Where did shy buy a hammock that was fit for a family?

Who offered to help her put her new hammock up and what happened?

Did she get in trouble with the neighbors?

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time they put something together or completed a task with someone in their family or a friend. Encourage them to write about how they accomplished their task together. If time permits, ask for volunteers to share their stories and discuss them…emphasizing that a job is more fun to do if it is done with a friend or relative. 

Mama Cook and the Boys

When parents welcome their children’s friends in their home

Kindnesses shown to children’s friends by family members

Parents who are accepting of their children’s friends

What did the young man’s mother do that his friends appreciated?

What does the mother buy for herself if she does not receive them?

What funny thing happened when her son was filming a movie at their house?

Did the mother miss the friends when they went back to school?

What memories did the mother have of that summer?

 

Writing activity: Have participants write about a time their parents welcomed their friends over.  Have the talk about the pleasures and challenges of having friends over in their home.  Encourage volunteers to share their stories and discuss the importance of thanking parents for having friends over when they are willing.  Talk about why it is not always something that can happen due to various circumstances, etc. 

Moonpies, Music and Dr. Pepper        

The love of music

Enjoying various kinds of music

Enjoying the simple things in life

What kind of music did the young lady like?

Where did she want to go one evening to hear music?

What did the mother do when she called her son?

What did the son do one day when she was singing into the phone?

What favorite food and drink did the young lady enjoy while listening to the bluegrass band?

 

Writing activity:  Have participants write about their favorite kind of music and tell why they like it.  If time permits, have volunteers read their paper and talk about a time when they enjoyed hearing it somewhere besides the radio or computer.  Talk about the importance of embracing life to the fullest and enjoying the simple things in life. 

          

 My First Love – Story #2

Finding love

Rediscovering a love interest from the past

Knowing what you are looking for in a relationship

Enjoying new adventures

What funny requirements did the mother tell the son about looking for a relationship?

Who did the mother “rediscover” by accident?  How did she do that and what were the results?

Do you think this will be a lasting relationship?

Writing activity:  Have participants write about a love story they know about.  If time permits, have a volunteer or two read their story.  Discuss the positives and negatives of the relationships and emphasize good communications, flexibility and love and that good relationships are hard work. 

   

From the Outside Looking In

Embracing new adventures

Enjoying life

Making new friends

Where did the woman go and who did she meet?

What were some of her first impressions of the people?

What did she do to get to know these new people better?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about how they make new friends and discuss if first impressions are often right.  Talk about characteristics of good friends and why you want to surround yourself with positive people. 

The Butterfly 

Enjoying the simple things in life

Experiencing nature

What did the woman and her boyfriend do that sounded like fun?

What creature visited them at the hammock?

What did the creature do?

Writing exercise:  Have participants write about a time when they experiences nature and tell what that meant to them.  If time permits, have volunteers read their stories and discuss the importance of enjoying and respecting nature, having good fun with friends, and enjoying life.