Found Fortune

Things have been hard ever since my dad lost his job. I had never worried about being homeless, but that seemed like it could be a real possibility at the moment. Going to bed hungry was starting to become a reality for my family and I. But all that changed through a delivery in the mail…
“Ten thousand dollars guys!” My dad held the cash in his hands, “Someone anonymously gave us ten thousand dollars in the mail! This should keep us on our feet well beyond when I hopefully find a job.”
“Are you sure this is an anonymous letter? Who would send that much money in the mail without a return address?” My mom asked.
“I have no idea, but you can look at it right there,” My dad pointed to the envelope he placed on the couch. When my mom picked the envelope and read over it, she looked like she wanted to cry.
“This isn’t our money,” Was all my mom could manage to say. My dad immediately stopped and looked over my mom “What do you mean this isn’t our money?” he grabbed the envelope from her and started to look closely at it. “What’s wrong with it? There’s our address right there!” He said, pointing at the envelope.
“You still can’t see it? Look at what it says next to our address,” she replied.
My dad must’ve finally realized what my mom was talking about, because he set the cash down, along with the envelope.
“What’s wrong, dad?” I asked him.
“Guys,” my dad sighed “this money isn’t ours, our address is on it, but the street it’s addressed to isn’t ours, it’s for the street behind us.”
My little brother Matthew immediately started crying. “Why do we have to return it?” He asked.
“Because,” my mom said, “It’s the right thing to do, if someone was trying to give some money to us, and it got delivered to someone else accidentally, we would want them to return it to us.”
“But can’t we just keep the money? If it was being delivered anonymously, that means the people probably never knew it was coming. We could keep it and nobody would know anything.” Matthew said.
My dad’s head suddenly perked up “He has a point,” he looked over at my mom. My mom looked back at him, astonished by what he just said. “No, he does not!” My mom exclaimed “I can’t believe you would even thing about something like that! I know times have been hard lately, but this money doesn’t belong to us, and there’s no way we’re keeping it. As a matter of fact, I’m returning it right now.” She grabbed the cash-filled envelope off the couch and headed towards the door.
“Why does mom have to return that money!” Matthew continued to complain after my mom left.
“Like mom said, it’s the right thing to do. If we kept that money, we’d have to live with ourselves knowing that the money never belonged to us, and that we’re taking money from a family that might also need it as much as we do” I told him.
Matthew was not trying to hear it. He just walked away to his room. Clearly not getting the point I was trying to convey. A few minutes later, my mom came back home, with the envelope still in her hand.
“You kept the money?” my dad asked when she walked inside.
“No, I did not keep the money. The family wasn’t home and I didn’t want to leave this much money just lying in their mailbox or anything, so tomorrow morning, I’m going to their house, and I’m giving them the money. Understood?” she announced. My dad didn’t really say anything, he just gave her a half-hearted nod. I think he just wanted to try and set a good example for Matthew. Even though I could tell he still wanted to keep at least SOME of the money. And I could see why he was mad. This wasn’t a couple hundred dollars or anything we were talking about, this was ten thousand dollars. And to have it ripped away from you, when you’re struggling like our family is, it’s really tough to just lose it like that. I knew that my father knew it was the right thing to do. And I knew that eventually he would come around.
“Guys I’m sorry for how I acted before about the whole money situation.” My dad said as we sat down for dinner, “I set a bad example and shouldn’t have acted that way. I was very selfish and I apologize,”
“What are you apologizing for?” Matthew asked, “What you were doing was right. I’m sure we needed that money much more than any other family could.”
“That’s not true Matthew. No matter how bad you think you’re doing in life, there’s always someone doing worse than you. Even though times have been hard lately, but we also need to start being more thankful for the things we have. We still have a home, we still have food to eat, we’re all healthy, and most importantly, we have each other. No matter what happens, we’ll always be a family. And hopefully I can get a job soon and we can all get back on our feet.”
“Dad’s right” I said, “and while it was nice when I didn’t have to worry about dad and mom paying the bills, money never can truly make us happy, especially money that doesn’t belong to us. Matthew do you understand what we’re trying to tell you?”
Matthew looked at them thoughtfully, “I think I understand what you’re trying to say to me. I’m sorry guys, I guess that the money started to make me go crazy.”
“It’s okay, the money made me go crazy as well,” my dad replied “I guess it’s a good thing that the money belongs to someone else, obviously I wasn’t meant to handle that type of money.”
That night, my family and I went to sleep knowing that we were going to give the money to the rightful owners, and we were okay with that. We had something no money could ever offer, we had each other.

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Poisoned

“Something was not quite right about that meal we just ate,” Jake said to his friend, Jason. Jake and Jason had both just went to a concert, on their way home, they stopped for a bite to eat at a new restaurant they had never tried before.
“Yeah, it feels like we just ate poison or someth-” All of a sudden, Jason blacked out, and the car started to swerve on the road.
“Jason! Wake Up!” Jake said, nudging him to open his eyes. Realizing he wasn’t going to wake up, Jake tried pulling the car over to the side of the road, and that was the last thing he remembered before blacking out as well.

The Decision

The referee blew his whistle, signaling that the game was over. Cameron’s team had won his soccer game, 3-2, meaning that his team was going to the state finals.

“We won!” Cam’s teammate and best friend, Justin yelled out.

The whole team ran in one big huddle and started to celebrate with each other. They all started to mob Cam, who scored them the game winning goal in the final minutes. They didn’t really get themselves under control until the coach made them understand that they still  had another game to play, and that they weren’t champions yet. After he said this, the team seemed to finally calm down. After his coach was done talking to them, Cam grabbed his things, and walked out to the bus, where he was mobbed again, until they were forced to sit down. Cam took his usual seat on the bus, next to Justin, where they began to talk about the past events of the game, how they always do. As they were busy talking, Cam heard his phone buzz in his pocket, and when he pulled his phone to check the notification, his heart skipped a beat. He received a text from his cousin Steven. The text read:

“Hey Cam! I look forward to seeing you at my 18th birthday party tomorrow! You promised me you would be there since we haven’t gotten the chance to see each other in a while! See you tomorrow at 12:00!”

“Oh no!” Cam said, as he looked down at his phone.

“What’s wrong?” Justin asked.

“I totally forgot about my Cousin Steven! His 18th birthday is tomorrow! And I promised him like four months ago that I will be there, no matter what happens. And now the championship is tomorrow at the same time.”

“You promised him four months ago? I can’t believe that he remembered it for that long.”

“I can,” Cam muttered “Steven is stuck to me like glue! He’s always trying to hang out every chance he gets! He doesn’t have a lot of friends, so there’s a good chance that I’ll be the only person there. It’s his 18th birthday, I don’t want him to be alone! What am I going to do!”

Cam thought about what he was going to do until he pulled up to his family’s house, where he was greeted by his mother.

“Cam, Justin’s parents called and told me everything! Congratulations! I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there, but I just couldn’t get out of work. But I promise I’ll be there tomorrow.”

“Well, at least one of us will.” Cam said.

“You’re not going to the game?” His mom questioned.

Cam showed his mom the text from his cousin.

“What do you think I should do?” He asked.

“Well, I think you should do what you think is best. If you go to this game, you know you’ll never hear the end of it. Plus we know that he’ll probably be spending his birthday alone. But if you go to the party, you’re missing the biggest game of your life. It’s a tough decision honestly, I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I know you’ll make the right decision.”

By the time Cam woke up that next morning, he knew his decision. He quickly got out of his bed, got dressed, and got in his car. A few minutes later, he pulled up to his school. Cam decided to go to his championship game. He loved his cousin Steven very much, but he just felt like he couldn’t miss out on this opportunity. Cam sent a text to his cousin, apologizing for not being able to make it. Then he shut his phone off, and got on the bus. Prepared to help his team win the state championship.

 

 

 

Participation Trophies

I personally think we give kids too many trophies. Us as a society can reward children for almost anything, including things they’re supposed to do. Like attendance for example. We will give kids a trophy for something that they would get into trouble for not doing. It’s the kids job to go to school every day. Adults don’t get trophies for going to work every day. You shouldn’t get rewarded for everything that you do. Or something like participation. We will give kids trophies simply for participating. Parents need to teach their kids the losing builds character and can motivate you to be even better. I also think that too many trophies can produce a sense of entitlement. By giving kids these trophies, you’re making them feel like they’ve accomplished something. When, if you look at it, they’ve accomplished nothing. They showed up.

I think it’s okay to teach kids, even at an early age, that there are winners, and there are losers. People aren’t going to be equally talented at everything. God didn’t make us that way. Some people are gifted at sports, others are gifted at drawing. You’re not going to be gifted at every single thing in life. We also can teach our kids that There’s going to be some kids that are better than them, and that it’s okay. That’s just how life can go sometimes. Now, I know that some people think that giving kids participation trophies can help them be more confident, but eventually they’re going to have to learn that there’s always someone better than them, and they need to work hard if they want to improve at whatever they’re doing.

Hebrews 10:36 says: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, You will received what he has promised.” How will we learn to persevere through failures if we’re never taught that failures are a part of life? We can’t, that’s why participation trophies teach a bad lesson. It teaches that everyone is a winner. Which I feel is a bad lesson to teach kids. Because of the lies that it holds. I feel that if parents sat their child down and had a conversation with them, kids would be much more prepared for the failures ahead of them in life.

An alternative for trophies could be words of affirmation for kids. Don’t waste time giving them meaningless trophies that will soon probably end up in the trash. Instead, help them. Tell them where they can improve. How they can get better and be more prepared for next time.

In conclusion, I feel that participation trophies are bad for young kids. It gives them a false sense of security, making them think they accomplished something when all they did was one thing: Participate. We need to be real with them and help them realize that you aren’t going to get a reward every time you do something. God gave us all different talents and gifts, and there will be things that you’re good at, and there will be things you aren’t so good at. I know kids may not fully understand at first, but in the long run, they’ll understand the lesson you’re trying to teach them.

 

 

Rescued

“Hello! Is anyone still alive?” Ralph cried out.  He continued to walk around the island, calling out to see if anyone had survived the plane crash.

“Yes, hello?” Ralph heard a voice call out behind him.

Ralph turned around to see a boy around his age standing in front of him.

“Hey, nice to meet you I’m Ralph,” He said, as he stuck out his hand to shake.

“I’m Jack, nice to meet you as well.” He replied as they shook hands.

“So from the looks of it, we’re the only two survivors of the crash.” Ralph said.

“Yes, unfortunately it looks like we are, I was the leader of a choir, but from the looks of it, none of the boys made it out alive.” Jack looked at the ground.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Replied Ralph, “but now is no time to be sad, we have to worry about surviving on this island, and if we have any chance of ever getting saved.”

“You’re right, and by the looks of it, nobody has ever been on this island, so trying to get saved looks like it will be quite a struggle. What do you think we need to do to get saved? What should we do first?” Jack asked.

“First, we need to find out if there’s any food on the island. Because our chances of survival are pretty low if there’s no edible food. And then we should probably find a place where we can sleep.”

And that’s exactly what they did. They ended up spending the day by finding lots of fruits on the island for them to eat. Then they began to set up huts with rocks and sticks they found on the island. It took them what felt like days, but finally, they were able to finish them. As they were eating some of their fruit, Jack thought of an idea of how they can get saved.

“Hey! We should set up a fire up there.” Jack said pointing to a sizable mountain to in front of them.

“That’s actually a really good idea. That mountain looks sorta high though so let’s start making our way up immediately.”

The journey up the mountain was long and tiring, but they finally mad it to the top.

“Well, now that we’re up here, how are we supposed to start this fire?” asked Jack.

“Woah, you’re right,” Ralph said, I guess we forgot about that part. Maybe we can rub a bunch of sticks together, and that will create a fire,” Ralph thought.

“Yeah that will work! Let’s hurry up and get them so we can light this fire!” Jack exclaimed.

Ralph and Jack gathered a bunch of sticks together for the fire. They rubbed the sticks together with all their energy, It took many attempts, but they were finally able to get a fire going.

“You know Jack, I’m proud of what we were able to do. We found food by ourselves, we built a place to sleep, and we lit a rescue fire. I think we make a pretty good team.”

Jack and ralph stood up there by the fire for a while, getting to know each other more. Just as they were getting ready to walk down the mountain, they heard a ear-piercing horn in the distance.

“Look!” Jack said, “It’s a ship! They noticed our fire! We’re gonna be saved!”

 

 

 

The Raven

The raven is still perched on the bust of Pallas to this day. Every day I sit there watching the raven, looking like it has something to tell me, but can’t get it out. And other times, it’s just sitting there, still as a statue. Except for a few minutes every day around three o’clock. Every day around that time, it starts going crazy. It starts flying all around the room screaming “Nevermore! Nevermore!” It does this for about two or three minutes, then it just stops. It lands right back where he started, and acts like nothing ever happened. I’ve been studying for a while why this has been happening, trying to figure out why the bird is going crazy, and if something has been triggering it, and why it’s been doing it at around the same time every day. So far, I’ve discovered nothing, and it’s been pretty discouraging. This bird has brought nothing but trouble since the day It came. With the more I study it, the more it makes me think about Lenore. The raven has been nothing but a pain and I’m ready for it to go.
It was around three o’clock again, when the raven started flying around. Except this time, it didn’t keep flying around, it stopped on the top of my bookshelf, right next to a picture of Lenore, and started his infamous yell once again. I could feel my blood start to boil, this was the last straw. This bird had done nothing but torment me since the day he got here. “Enough!” I blurted out, “You have been ruining my life since you got here! I don’t know why you came here, and why you’ve stayed, but It’s time for you to go!”
Then all of a sudden, the raven stopped talking. And what he did next was even more strange. It picked up the picture, and brought it to me, face down. I looked down at the picture, it read “stress” on the back. I realized that was what the raven was trying to tell me all along. “Nevermore” be stressed about Lenore’s death. I thought before that the raven was here to hurt me. All along it was trying to help me. “Why…” I started to say, but before I had a chance to finish my sentence, the raven flew out the window, and out of my sight forever.

Workshop

“Why do you have to go?” Shane asked his parents.
“Shane, you know we love you,” his dad said, putting his hand on his shoulder, “but we feel that God is calling us right now to do mission work overseas. I hope you understand.”
Shane looked at his parents for a moment, then he sighed.
“Okay, I understand. I love you very much, and good luck in India.”
“Aw, Shane we love you too” His mom said. They gave each other one last group hug, and with that, they went inside the airport, and out of Shane’s sight.
***
Three years later…
“Listen Shane,” I’ve called you in today for a very delicate reason. I’m sorry, but I’m letting you go.”
“Letting me go? Mr. Henderson you can’t! Please don’t fire me! How am I supposed to provide for my wife and I?” He said as he buried his face into his hands.
“I’m sorry Shane” Mr. Henderson replied, you always come in late, in fact, I think you’ve been late more than you’ve been on time. I wish you well in your endeavors, but right now, it’s time for you to pack your things and head out.”
Shane did as Mr. Henderson told. Within five minutes, he packed all his things, and was out the door.
How could this happen?” Shane thought as he got in his car and started to drive home, “That’s the second time this year I’ve been fired! What am I supposed to do now? We were struggling to make ends meet already, now there’s no way we’ll be able to pay the bills with just Lisa’s salary!
Shane continued to think until he finally pulled up into his apartment complex and went inside of the building. He pulled out his key and unlocked his apartment door. He opened it to find his wife, Lisa, finishing up making a pot of spaghetti.
“You’re home early, I thought you weren’t getting home until around 11,” Shane said, as he greeted his wife.
“Yeah well, my boss told me they overstaffed tonight by accident, so I figured with you making a little extra money at your job, I could take the night off at mine.” She said as she put down two plates.
“Um… yeah, about that. I kind of lost my job today.” Shane told her as he sat down to eat.
Lisa immediately stopped eating and put her fork down. “Again? You lost your job again? Why did you lose your job this time?”
“Because I was late a lot.” Mumbled Shane.
“Shane, I thought we talked about this.” Lisa said, putting her head in her hands “That was the reason you got fired from your last job. You have to wake up on time if you want to keep your job.”
“You’re right. But don’t worry, I’ll have a new job in no time, and I’m going to make sure I get up earlier this time.”
“Well, whatever new job you’re going to get, it better be soon. Money is tight these days, we don’t have time for either of us to not have a job,” she picked up her fork and resumed eating. A couple minutes later, her head perked up. “Oh, I almost forgot! You received a letter from your parents today!” she said as she got out of her chair to get the letter.
“Oh, that’s different, I just got a letter from them a couple weeks ago, most of the time they would send me a letter every once in a while or so,” Shane opened the letter and started to read aloud: “Dear Shane, we are writing to you today to tell you some great news: we are coming home! After three long, difficult years, we finally get to come home! We are getting back on April 23rd. We are so excited to finally see you again and to meet your wife! See you soon!
Love, Dad and Mom.
P.S. Our plane lands at 10 in the morning so if you could pick us up that’d be great.”
“Oh, Shane! That’s amazing news! Your parents are coming back tomorrow!” Lisa exclaimed.
“Yeah, it’s really… great” Shane replied, obviously forcing a smile.
“It doesn’t sound like you think it’s great.”
“No, of course I’m excited! I haven’t seen my parents in three years! It’s just that, don’t you think I’ve been a failure since my parents left?”
“Of course not! Why would you say that?” Lisa replied.
“Because,” Shane said “Last time I talked to them, I was just graduating college! And since then I’ve yet to do anything. I’ve always struggled to keep a job, and now I’ve gotten fired twice this year! What will my parents think of me?”
“Oh Shane!” Lisa said, “I’m sure your parents won’t care about any of that! I’m sure they’ll just be excited to see you again. Besides, you said that you could get a job in no time, right?”
“Yeah, but what if I don’t? What if it takes me months to find a job”
“That won’t happen. You’re a motivated young man who is also one of the hardest workers I know. You’re just questioning yourself right now. But once you’re back searching for a job, you’ll find one in no time. Trust me.” Lisa said.
“Hopefully you’re right.” Replied Shane.
“I know I’m right,” Lisa said, with a smile on her face “Now come on! We need to get to bed if we’re going to pick your parents up tomorrow.”
“Could you go pick them up without me?” asked Shane “I think I should get them balloons or something to welcome them back.”
“But I’ve never met your parents before! Don’t you think it would be a little weird for me to be there without you?” Why don’t you just go and I get the cake?”
“Because I want to be the one surprise my parents when they arrive with the cake. You’ll be fine,” Shane replied, “my parents are really nice, and you’ll get along just fine with them. I promise.”
Lisa thought about it for a second, then finally, she agreed “Okay then. I guess it’s settled. I’ll pick up your parents, and you get the cake, alright?”
“Alright sounds good.” Replied Shane

***
Shane awoke to the sound of his alarm clock. He looked over at his clock, it read 9:50. Not again! How do I keep waking up late? Shane said to himself as he hurried out of bed, “Lisa is supposed to be back around 10:30! I need to get to the store and get their cake!” Shane threw on some clothes, grabbed his wallet and car keys, and raced out the door. About ten minutes later, Shane pulled up to the grocery store and went inside. He practically ran to the bakery. He purchased the cake and ran back out of the store. He hopped in the car and drove faster than he could remember. He arrived back home at the apartment and looked at his phone. It read 10:27.
Perfect timing. Shane thought to himself as he unlocked the door and went inside his apartment. A few minutes later, he heard a knock at the door.
“Shane!” his wife called, “I have a surprise here at the door!”
Shane hustled over to the door and took a deep breath. He opened it to reveal none other than his parents. Shane immediately lit up, he and his parents group-hugged. They were finally a family again.