“The idea of telling heroes’ stories to inspire others to action has deep roots. People have been telling the stories of heroes for thousands of years as a way to communicate their culture’s values. Ann Medlock invented the Giraffe Heroes Project to do the same thing for our times. Ann’s strategy for the Giraffe Heroes Project was simple— she would find unknown heroes, commend them as Giraffes for sticking their necks out, and get their stories told on radio and television and in print. Giraffe stories would show the public that there was headway being made on the problems of the world, that there were individuals who had solutions—and the courage to move into action. The stories would feed people’s souls, inform their attitudes—and get them moving on public problems that mattered to them.” http://giraffeheroes.org/ Click on the link and go to find a hero. Explore the stories of heroes young and old, from around the world.
The story, “Two Brothers,” is based on a story from the Jewish Talmud. Other contemporary versions of the story include “Brotherly Love,” in Angels, Prophets, Rabbis and Kings, from the Stories of the Jewish People, by Jose Patterson
Once upon a time in the land of Israel, there lived an old farmer. When he died the farmer left his land to his two sons. They divided the land evenly and built their own houses on opposite sides. The younger brother soon married and had a family. The older brother did not marry but lived alone. Both brothers remained the best of friends and often helped each other on their farms.
One year at harvest time, both brothers undertook the process of harvesting their crop of (barley). They bundled the stalks of grain into sheaves, counted them, and took them into their barns to store. (Later, they would take some of it to the market to sell.) After a long day of work, the brothers usually slept well. But on this night, the elder brother lay awake.
“It is not right,” he thought, “that I should reap as much grain as my brother. He has a family to feed and I have only myself. He needs more barley to sell so that he can buy all that he needs for his family.” Making up his mind to set things right, he dressed and slipped out to his barn. There he took as many sheaves as he could carry across the field to his brother’s barn. Feeling better, he returned to his bed and slept well.
The younger brother also had slept badly that night. He awoke and lay worrying. He too thought of his brother. “It is not right,” he thought, “that I should reap as much grain as my brother. I have a family to help me, and to care for me in old age, while he works alone.” So saying, he too rose, dressed, and went to his barn, not long after his brother had left. There he took as many sheaves as he could carry and walked across the fields to his brother’s barn. Feeling better, he returned to his bed.
The next day the two brothers each went to their barns. They looked and looked again at their grain. There was as much there as there had been the day before. The two brothers worked again in their fields all day and did not speak of what had happened.
The next night they did the same thing. First, the older brother, taking as many sheaves of grain as he could carry to his brother’s barn, and then the younger brother, narrowly missing him, did the same. Again, the next day both brothers stood in awe and counted their grain, which was as much as before they had given it away. Again, both kept their thoughts to themselves.
Then on the third night, both brothers rose late. The moon had gone down and they went to their barns. Again, they gathered as much grain as they could carry and headed out across the field to their brother’s barns.
It was so dark, that they almost collided in the middle of the fields. They both stopped and peered at one another. What they saw made them smile, and then laugh. They dropped their bundles, and hugged one another for a long, long time. They promised one another that there would always be help for each other, no matter what. Then they each knelt down right there in the field, and thanked God for giving them such a thoughtful and generous brother.
- Build a blanket fort with your family using items that represent people, places, things, and ideas that “fortify” you/give you strength to do what is right.
- On a square piece of paper list the people, things, and ideas you brought into your blanket fort. How do these things and people make you feel? Safe? Connected? Protected? Strong? Fold the paper into a heart and pin it to the backpack you carry every day
- List issues your family can help with in your community. Look up local groups that work on these issues and find ways to partner with them. Consider making a donation to support their work.
As Unitarians our 7th principle calls on us to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Click the link below to view an interactive video of The Golden Rule
“Given its omnipresence across history, the Golden Rule is often described as a universal ethical principle. To reflect on the Golden Rule is to reflect from the perspective of a universal wisdom. Accordingly, the Golden Rule is not just a moral ideal for relationships between people but also for relationships among nations, cultures, races, sexes, economies and religions.” http://www.scarboromissions.ca/Golden_rule/golden_rule_flash.swf