A Lesson on Compassion from Red Riding Hood
As soon as bed time approaches, little Kellus instantly runs up to mommy and daddy with his big brown eyes, ginormous smile and raised brows to ask, “Can you tell the story of little red riding hood?” I’m convinced it’s his favorite story. But quite honestly, we tend to tell it in a more contemporary way and (sorry to those who love the original masterpiece that Little Red Riding Hood is) we change the story-line almost every night.
Well, the other night it was my turn to tell our eccentric tale about Ms. Riding Hood. So, Kellus nestled under his space-ship designed blue blanket and I sat Indian style on the floor to began.
“Once upon a time, in a bright green forest, little red riding hood walked to her grandma’s house. She bopped along the way snapping her fingers to the jazzy theme music that looped in her mind and began to sing, “I’m walking through the for-rest, to go by Grand-ma’s house. I’m walking through the for-rest, to go by grand-ma’s house!”
Of course I sang loudly, snapping my fingers and really getting him into the song. In this tale of Ms. Riding Hood, Red wanted Grandma to make some pancakes– her favorite. But sadly, Grandma was all out. Red was so sad. Instead of her favorite strawberry pancakes, Grandma had biscuits that were nice and hot and ready. But Red insisted on her favorite breakfast meal. Grandma told her, “You have to go to the store to get them if you’d like me to cook them.” So, Red got that jazzy tune back in her mind and told Grandma, “Alright nah, I’ll be right back.”
So, she went back through the forest singing, “I’m going through the forest, to get some pan-cakes. I’m going through the forest to get some pan-cakes!”
(I’m singing this as I type!)
But, when she got to the store, she saw a sad little boy. He was slouched on the ground, with his knees bent in his chest and head down. She asked if he was okay and he began to share his family situation with her. They were poor– had had no money and was hungry. So, Red Riding hood did a very admirable and unselfish thing. She gave him the money she was going to use for her pancakes.
When she got back to Grandma, she explained what happened and enjoyed the nice hot yummy biscuits Grandma prepared. She gave thanks and prayed a special prayer for the little boy and his family. The End.
As I shared this story, I made sure to put emphasis on a few parts in the story. Not only did we bop and snap to the song, but when she was disappointed, I expressed it and when the little boy was sad, I poked out my bottom lip and gave sad eyes. My son looked sad too and said, “Oh no!” so I knew he was captivated by what happened.
Most importantly, my aim was to teach him how wonderful it is to give to those who are in need. I believe that by telling a small very animated story with feeling, he held on to the important principle. And when the time permits, we’ll take him places where we can practice this principle by giving to those who have great need.
I love great stories. I especially love them because it’s what Jesus uses to teach us with. Parables. Jesus spoke through parables to teach us very valuable and life changing lessons. When we reflect on the Gospels, we’re always impacted to be more like Christ. And it all stems from his lifestyle that we pray to imitate.
My little remake of Red Riding Hood is one of many examples of how stories can be shared with messages to plant incredible seeds of faith, love and compassion. As a mom, I’m thankful for that special time and I ask God to give us fresh ideas so that our children can grow up missional and full of grace.