The power of example (Story)

Topic Discussed – Sharing is good – Family

Author: Célia Xavier Camargo

Dora or Dorothy, as she was known, was a bright and intelligent girl, but had a problem: laziness.

She hated any kind of task, no matter how simple it was. It was very hard for her to get up early and go to school! She always claimed she was tired. She never did homework, or studied for exams. Therefore, her grades were poor. 

She didn’t help at home with anything. She claimed she had a headache if her mother kindly asked her to set the table at meal time. If she asked her to sweep the house because she was busy, the girl replied that she needed to study and shut herself in her room. Dorothy would complain angrily when Mom needed her to look after the baby for a little while: 

— Why do I need to do everything?

Dorothy took no pleasure in being useful. She was only happy when she was playing, walking, watching television or sleeping. 

Her mother worried about her, trying to advise her, but without positive results. Her mother asked God in prayers to help her because she feared for the future of her daughter. 

There was a small house next to hers which was closed for a long time. One day, Dora noted that it was open. A family had moved during the night and the girl was curious to get to know the new neighbours. 

Back from school, Dorothy saw a boy sitting on a bench in the garden in front of the house. 

She approached him smiling, as she wanted to get to know him, pleased to have someone else to play. 

— Hello! —she said, greeting him. — What’s your name? 
—Olaf. What’s yours? 
— Dora. But everyone calls me Dorothy. 

The boy was very friendly and attentive. Dorothy liked him. They were soon chatting like old friends. 
Dorothy soon began to complain about life. She complained about school, her mother, household chores; in short, everything. She then said: 

—- Have you ever thought, Olaf? I am already forced to get up early to attend a boring school with boring classes. I am feeling exhausted when I come home. Yet, I have to help my mother with household chores! I'm so tired of this life! 

Olaf was watching her with his eyes wide open. He sighed and said:
— I envy you so much, Dorothy! 
— Why? My life is horrible and boring! I hate this life! —the girl replied, feeling quite revolted.

Olaf said, kindly:
—Well, I think your life is wonderful!
—Really? —The girl asked, incredulous.
—It's true, my friend. I can never leave my home or go to school...
—You do not study?
—No, Dorothy. I'm sick and very weak. I can not walk like you. I had a great and strong friend, who took me to school in his arms before, but then he moved. There was anyone else to replace him. My mother can not carry me. It would be nice if I had a wheelchair to get around, but we are poor and still could not buy one.

Dorothy stammered, with her mouth open:
— So, you can not play outside? You can’t play hide and seek, jump rope, running or jumping? 
—No, but I'm not complaining... 
—What do you do all day? Your life must be pretty sad. 
—Not really. I help my mother whenever I can: I choose the rice and beans, I clean vegetables, peel potatoes and wipe the dishes. 

Besides, my mother creates small art crafts to sell and increase our income. I help in this task whenever possible. I also have friends who keep me company and bring me magazines and books. I spend hours reading. Anyway, I think that my existence is very good! I know people who have less than me and whose life is much more difficult than mine.

Dorothy looked at him with admiration and respect. She felt ashamed of her complaints. 
Olaf smiled and added: 

—I miss going to school. I would love to continue studying and learning new things. God willing, I'm sure I will be able to someday. Dorothy, you should thank Jesus for all you have: a perfect body that enables you to walk and play, intelligence to study and learn, and the love of a family. 

Dorothy bade farewell to her friend with new ideas in her mind. She went straight to the kitchen when she entered her house and said, thoughtful: 

—Mom, let me clean the table. I can wash all the dishes after lunch and sweep the floor. I can also take care of the baby too...

Her mother was not accustomed to that good will. She asked, feeling quite surprised with her daughter’s attitude: 
—What happened to my daughter? Are you sick? Have you got fever?

Dorothy laughed and explained: 
—I'm fine, Mom, do not worry. I just had a very interesting meeting. 

She then told her mother a conversation she had with her new friend Olaf. She concluded: 
— Mommy, I will try to do my tasks with optimism and joy as from today! 

Dorothy's parents organised a campaign for Olaf and were able to buy the wheelchair he wished. Furthermore, they took the boy to a doctor to try to discover resources for healing. 

Soon later, we could see Dorothy happily walking every morning next to Olaf on their way to school, where they studied together. 


Source: O Consolador – Weekly Spiritist Magazine
Author: Célia Xavier Camargo 

Translation: Carolina von Scharten, London, linked to BUSS - The British Union of Spiritist Societies