Outcomes Offered

■ Discovery of your own abilities

■ The rewards of kindness

I am sure you have heard the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears—but have you heard of Grandpa and the Four Bears? When Goldilocks visited, a long time ago, there were only three bears. Now there are four—Little Bear, Big Brother Bear, Mama Bear, and Papa Bear. Since Goldilocks' visit, Grandpa Bear had come to stay with the Bear family, too. He was a frail old bear whose coat had turned gray, whose paws shook when he tried to eat, and whose shoulders bent forward as if he was tired of standing.

Little Bear loved Grandpa Bear. Grandpa Bear always listened to Little Bear when everyone else was too busy rushing off to gather honey or something. Grandpa Bear would never say "No" when Little Bear wanted to sit quietly on his lap and be told a story . . . and Grandpa Bear had some great stories.

Little Bear also felt sorry for Grandpa Bear, whose paws shook so much at times that his spoon might miss his mouth and spill porridge all over his fur. Sometimes he would drop his bowl on the hard floor, smashing the bowl and making a big mess.

Mama Bear and Papa Bear would get annoyed with him. Apart from the fact that he was breaking the all bowls Goldilocks had made famous in her story, they had to clean up after him. "As if there isn't enough for us to do already," they would complain.

Big Brother Bear would say things like, "Grandpa Bear's got CRAFT's disease—He Can't Remember A Flaming Thing," and laugh out loud. Little Bear knew Big Brother Bear was teasing her, but still it hurt and she hated him for it. She wanted to help Grandpa Bear, but what could she do?

One day when Grandpa Bear had dropped his bowl yet again, Little Bear got down on the floor and picked up all the pieces. She then asked Papa Bear if he had any glue.

"Why do you want glue?" asked Papa Bear.

"So I can stick Grandpa Bear's bowl back together and keep it for you and Mama when I have grown up," answered Little Bear.

Papa Bear quietly sat back in his Papa-Bear chair and looked at Mama Bear in her Mama-Bear chair. For a moment they just looked at each other. After that Little Bear noticed they were kinder to Grandpa Bear. They bought him a special grandpa plastic bowl that wouldn't slip off the table so easily and wouldn't break if he did drop it. They didn't seem to care so much if he spilled porridge down his fur or made a mess on the tablecloth. They talked to him more and listened to his stories, even if they had heard them before.

So our story has a happy ending. With thanks to Little Bear, Mama Bear and Papa Bear were happier. Big Brother Bear . . . well, he was much the same as he always was. Grandpa Bear was certainly happier. And Little Bear was happier, too.

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