Be Brave – Never Give UpShare
A father writes a story for his 3-year-old son and future daughter about the power of resilience.
There was once a tiny acorn named Winston. Winston was a happy acorn because everything in his life was just right. One day, his mom and dad said to him, “It’s time for you to go and become a big oak tree, just like your mom and dad. But just remember, whatever may happen, be brave and make sure to never give up.”
“Okay, Mom and Dad. I won’t ever give up!” Winston replied. Winston was so excited! With that, the wind picked up and blew Winston away from the reach of his parents into the air. Eager to start his journey to becoming a tree, Winston shouted out, “HERE I GOOOOOO!”
Winston was thrilled to become a big, strong oak tree just like his mom and dad. After landing on the ground, the wind continued to roll him forward. “This is fun!” he exclaimed. “I have never been on the ground before!”. As he rolled along, he saw many animals along the way.
“Hello Mr. Rabbit! Hello, Mrs. Squirrel! Hello, Mr. Bird!” shouted Winston as he moved along.
As he was rolling along the ground, Winston suddenly fell into a large hole. “Oh no!” said Winston. “This isn’t good. I’m stuck.” Although he pushed and pushed, Winston could not get out of the hole. He was going nowhere. “Is anybody out there? Mr. Rabbit? Mrs. Squirrel? Mr. Bird? Can you help me get out of this hole?” Winston called out. Unfortunately, none of the animals heard Winston’s pleas for help. So there he remained - stuck in a hole all by himself.
As time went on, Winston found himself getting lonely in the hole. Nobody was around to keep him company. After a few lonely days, the wind began to pick up again. Winston could hear the fierce winds howling above him. The winds became so fierce that dirt began to pile on top of Winston. “Oh yuck!” said Winston. “This isn’t good. I’m getting dirt all over me.” Not only was Winston stuck in a hole, but he was getting covered up with dirt. Nobody was ever going to find him!
Winston saw a bright flash of light and heard a loud CRACK. Lightning and thunder boomed all around him. Winston was scared. Just as he began to grow more afraid in the deep, dark hole covered with dirt, Winston felt the rain pouring in on him. “Oh no!” said Winston. “This isn’t good. I’m getting all wet.”
There he sat, stuck in a deep, dark hole soaking wet with dirt covering him up with no one to help him. “This is terrible.” Winston thought. “I am never going to become a tree!” Winston felt hopeless and began to cry as the storm battered down. As he sat there in despair, Winston remembered what his parents told him – “Be brave and never give up”. And so, Winston went on to repeat to himself, “Be brave - never give up, be brave - never give up, be brave - never give up.”
Days went by and Winston continued to tell himself to be brave and never give up. Yet despite that, there he remained - stuck in the deep, dark hole. It was at that moment that Winston felt something happen. All of a sudden, the hard outer shell around him began to crack. He felt roots begin to sprout below him. “Oh no!” said Winston. “This isn’t good. I’m supposed to be a tree. I need to grow up high into the sky – not down into the ground!” Not only was Winston stuck down in a hole, he now felt like he was growing in the wrong direction.
Life just could not get any worse for Winston. He was stuck in a hole, covered in dirt, getting rained on, and now was growing in the wrong direction! But he continued to remind himself of the wise words he was taught… “Be brave - never give up.” And so, he began to tell himself once again, “Be brave - never give up, be brave - never give up, be brave - never give…
It was at the moment, Winston felt another crack! He felt something change. Soon, he was pushing through the dirt around him until he suddenly saw the light. Winston was growing! He was becoming a tree!
Winston pushed his way from the deep, dark hole, breaking free from the dirt around him. He saw the sun shining upon him and a rainbow in the distance. As he felt the warm sun, he was determined to grow more and more, higher and higher into the sky. Driven to reach as high as he could, Winston continued pushing toward the sun. Eventually, he saw his parents in the distance.
“Mom, Dad! You’ll never guess what happened!” he exclaimed. “I fell into a hole, was covered up with dirt, got all wet, and started growing in the wrong direction. It was at that moment when I thought all was lost, but then I remembered what you told me – “Be brave and never give up”.
As Winston’s mom and dad listened, they said to him, “You see, Winston. You were exactly where you needed to be. It is sometimes in our lowest of moments where real growth happens. Being stuck in that hole is exactly where you needed to be. And that is why you must tell yourself to be brave and never give up.”
As the years went on and Winston grew taller than any tree in the forest, he knew his parents were right. It is right at those toughest of times - when all hope seems lost and when we are stuck in a hole, covered in dirt, and getting wet - that we experience the transformation and remarkable growth that ultimately takes us higher.
“Be brave,” said Winston. “And never give up!”
This story is dedicated to my son, Henry, and soon-to-be-born daughter. I hope you both grow to learn that through every moment of adversity lies great opportunity.