Children’s Column

Tips On Making Friends

  • Analyze your past failed relationships. What went wrong? Why? What role did you play in the failure? What will you do differently next time? What lessons did you learn about how to pick friends?
  • Work gradually into friendships; don’t rush into them. Don’t commit unconditional trust and undying allegiance without witnessing an impressive track record of reliability.
  • Have reliable friends by being a reliable friend. Enable the people in your life to count on you as much as want to be able to count on them.
  • Work on the rule that there are two kinds of people in the world – enemies and friends – and the difference between them is that enemies make you laugh while friends are willing to make you cry. Choose friends who will be honest in giving you feedback you may not get anywhere else.
  • Insist that friendship be a two-way street. Be wary of acquaintances who get a lot more from you than you get from them. Be a giver and surround yourself with givers. But try to give more than you receive.
  • Pay the price in terms of time, energy, and commitment in order to have close friends.
  • It is better to have one or two close friends than many general friends
  • Be a good listener. When your friend wishes to share his joy or sorrow listen without interruption.
  • Share your joys and sorrows with your friend. Remember sorrow shared, sorrow halved, joy shared, joy doubled.
  • Learn to live with the faults and weaknesses of your friend: remember, no one is perfect.
  • If you like something in your friend, let him/ her know.
  • Give gifts to your friend.
  • Encourage him/ her often in all the good that they do.

Wise Sayings

  • Don’t just commiserate with your fellow man, help him. (Maxim Gorkey)
  • Day fades away with night and man with sorrow. (Russian Saying)
  • Seek not to have that everything should happen as you wish, but wish for everything to happen as it actually does happen and you will be serene. (Epictetus)
  • Even though you have 10,000 fields, you can one eat one measure of rice a day; even though your dwelling contains 1,000 rooms you can only use eight feet of space at night. (Anon)


What Am I?

Q: I am nothing, yet have a name. I am sometimes tall and sometimes short. I join your talks and join your games, and I play in every sport you choose. What am I?

Ans: Shadow.


Q: I am made of the stuff around me but lighter than it. More of me is hidden than seen. What am I?

Ans: An iceberg.


Q: I have a mouth but never speak, have bed but never sleep. What am I?

Ans: A river.


Q: In cubic feet, how much dirt is in a hole of three feet long, three feet deep and three feet wide?

Ans: None… A hole is empty.


Q: A large truck is crossing a bridge one mile long. The bridge can only hold 1400lbs, which is the exact weight of the truck. The truck makes it half way across the bridge and stops. A bird lands on the truck. Does the bridge collapse? Give a reason.

Ans: No it doesn’t collapse. Because it has driven half a mile – you would subtract the petrol used from the total weight of the truck.

Small Acts of Kindness
M. Broeckelman

One dismal evening, just a few months ago,
When the streets were dark and the streets were covered with snow,

I had nothing specific in mind and wasn’t sure what to do,
Since it was one of those chilly nights that leave you feeling a bit blue,

I shuffled through a few papers and picked up a book
And without giving it much thought, decided to take a look.

It was one of those volumes filled with dozens of stories
That told tales of victories, failures and special glories.

There was an account of a boy who went to school and learned,
And another of a girl who got the toy for which she yearned

Then I came across a story about someone just like us
Who decided to spend a day doing random acts of kindness

Every thoughtful gift and kind word said with grace
Brightened someone’s day and left a smile on their face

I sat back to ponder the story and came up with a thought
If everyone tried to share some happiness and kindness sought

Wouldn’t our world be so much more pleasant than it is now
When a few more smiles and time for others we’d allow

I baked a batch of cookies today, and I know a lady down the street
Who I’m sure would love a few moments company and a home-made treat,

And her lonely neighbour who always seems a bit sad and gray
I think a nice visit from someone would just make her day

Well it was starting to get late so, I decided to get some sleep
After I made a list of things to do the next day and appointments to keep

When I got up in the morning I went to school with a goal in mind –
I would try cheer a few people up and find ways to be kind.

I bid, ‘good morning,’ and smiled at everybody I met.
A few returned the greeting, then our separate ways we went

Someone dropped their books, so I helped gather them willingly,
And I noticed the more I helped others, the more they helped me!

After I went home I packaged some cookies to share
Attaching a note that said, ‘just because I care.’

When they opened the doors, you should have seen their faces light with glee
And watched their smiles as they exclaimed, ‘You mean, you came to visit lonely old me!’

Later in the evening, I sat down and wrote a few notes
Wishing the recipient a great week before sealing them in envelopes.

Then I took a few moments to think about my day
And I realised I received even more joy than I had given away

Because every time you smile or with a cheerful word part
The warmth of that kindness penetrates into your heart

We’re only given a short time to spread some cheer before we die
So why not give random acts of kindness a try

The Scholar’s Laughter

Once in the streets of India, a much-respected scholar seemed to be laughing at nothing. A passer-by was surprised and asked him what he was laughing at?

‘The people hustling and bustling in the street,’ he replied. ‘Is that not laughable?’

He continued: ‘Each person pushes others away because he finds his action the most important. It is the way of both the civilised and the uncivilised. And what do they reach? Nothing. Empty handed they leave this world; they come without anything and they leave without anything.’

It is this outlook which bewilders the soul. The religious man does not feel proud when he laughs at others but at the same time, he finds it highly amusing. And he is just amused at himself as at others.

Brain Teasers

1. How many sides does a circle have?

Ans: Two, of course. The inside and the outside.


2. If three cats catch three mice in three minutes, how many cats would be needed to catch 100 mice in 100 minutes?

Ans: The same three cats would do. Since these three cats are averaging one mouse per minute, given a hundred minutes, the cats would catch 100 mice.


3. If you toss a die and it comes up with the number one, 9 times in a row what is the probability that it will come up with one on the next throw?

Ans: One in six. A die has no memory of what it last showed.


4. A mother has six children and five potatoes. How can she feed each an equal amount of potatoes? Do not use fractions.

Ans: Mash the potatoes or make French fries.


5. What is the largest number you can write using only two digits?

Ans: 99 (nine to the power of nine) = 387, 420, 489

Tips for Self-Development

How to Criticise

‘Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend’s forehead.’ ~ Chinese proverb

Is constructive criticism a contradiction in terms? No! Criticism can elevate rather than annihilate; build up, rather than tear down, and enhance, rather than diminish. Here are a few tips to criticise constructively:

  1. Criticise in private. Criticise in private. Criticise in …
  1. If possible ask whether the person wants criticism. Ask, ‘Would you like a second opinion?’ or ‘Do you want to know how I feel about that?’
  1. Before you open your mouth, examine your heart. Don’t believe you can help – the goal of constructive criticism – while you feel angry, insulted, or wronged.
  1. Condemn the deed, not the person. Separate the sin from the sinner. Say what you see. Focus on what happened rather than on what the person did. Avoid the word you.
  1. Say what’s wrong with the behaviour. Point to a specific negative impact on the organization, the team, the person or on you.
  1. Ask the person to explain what happened. There may be a good reason for his behaviour. Find out before taking any action or reaching any conclusion.
  1. Paint a clear picture of what you expect in the future; suggest what corrective action is needed to get there or better let the other person suggest the remedy. Ask, ‘What will it take to keep this from happening again?’
  1. Insist that the person make a commitment to a plan for improvement. Pledge your support.
  1. Thank the person for cooperating, express your optimism about the future, or praise a positive aspect of his performance.
  1. Don’t stick around long enough to change the subject to something that will weaken the impact of the criticism.

Interest and Indifference

A shopkeeper was sitting cross-legged on some cushions in his shop smoking a hookah. A customer came in and asked for a certain item.

The shopkeeper thought for a minute, or two, and then said, ‘I don’t think I have it.’

The customer then asked, ‘Where can one get such a thing?’

He replied, ‘I don’t know,’ and continued to sit and smoke his pipe. The customer then saluted him and left.

Indifference is all right when one sits in meditation in a forest; but if one has a shop, what is needed is interest.

How is Soap Made?

Soap is made largely from fats or oil with a variety of other ingredients. Before the introduction of soap in the First Century AD, people washed themselves and their clothes with fullers earth, a fine clay-like substance that loosens oil and dirt.

People first made soap by saving scraps of fat and boiling them in an iron pot. They added an alkaline solution made from wood ash called lye. This formed a yellow soft soap, the yellow coming from the potash in the lye. Hard soap was made by boiling for longer, and by adding salt, usually from sea water.

Soap is made in much the same way, but on a larger scale in factories. The chief things that go into its manufacture are still fat or oil (but oil from coconuts or cotton seeds) and lye. Coloured dyes, perfumes and super-fats, such as almond oil and glycerine, are added to make the expensive toilet and shaving soaps.

The Scholar in Hell

One night a king dreamt that he saw a king in paradise and a scholar in hell. The dreamer exclaimed: ‘What is the meaning of this? I should have thought that the positions would be reversed.’

A voice answered: ‘The king is in heaven because he respected scholars and the scholar is in hell because he compromised with kings.

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