Thursday, May 19, 2011

Three Questions

This (quite) short fiction by Leo Tolstoy is offered here for you, and free.  Take a moment or two to read and ponder it, in honor of Short Story Month.

Riddle me this:  What are YOUR three questions? 
The ones you've spent your whole life pursuing?  
I recently bought the beautiful  version of Tolstoy's story pictured at right to celebrate national Children's Book Week.  The watercolor illustrations will draw in young and old alike, and the shift from a king to a child and from people to animals in this version of Tolstoy's story make it a fine work to read aloud with kids or to page through from time to time as an adult.

The lesson here is a clear one, offered explicitly:  Do something helpful or just plain good for the person (or, as I would adjust it for the 21st century, being) in front of you at this moment.  That is what is best to do and who it is best to do it for because, ultimately, there is no other time but now to make a difference in the world.

I'm going to try it, starting right now, for at least a week.  Maybe for a lifetime. 
Even while I blog hop or work on to provide more opportunities for readers to change the world, I'm going to try to do good for whoever is right in front of me at that moment.

And I'm offering it up for the first full week in June as an ActionReader Challenge, both here and at the website, with a number of book give-aways to acknowledge each person's renewed attention to 'loving the one you're with'.  Join us here and there on June 1 (that's just two weeks away!) if you'd like a little extra encouragement to keep this focus as your intention for the first week in June.  (And don't worry: I'll remind you!)

MFB in the present moment,


Heather said...

My youth at church used this as their children's story for the little ones in their youth service last week. The topic of their service was "The Big Questions", and this beautiful book was a perfect fit for their message of taking care of each other.

Joy Weese Moll said...

I'm interested in your BTT response. But I understand some of the riskiness. I was shocked when I learned that what the American Library Association posts as "banned books" was not, in fact, books banned from libraries. Mostly, it's books challenged in classrooms. As a librarian, I think our choices on this issue are easy compared to those of teachers.

Enbrethiliel said...


No one can top Tolstoy's three questions, so I'm not even going to try! =P

I think this is a great action idea! Will you be blogging about the results?

Laurie said...

H - Yes, the book itself is lovely, if an altered version of the original, and would certainly make for a valuable conversation-or reflection-starter with youth. How wonderful that your worship leaders chose it!
J - I bopped over to post on your blog; still waiting to see if anyone else is interested before I post what could be a risky entry here.
E - You bet I'll blog about the results! So many wisdom traditions offer this same response to what really is a variant on "What should I do with my life." I just need regular reminders to practice it!
And I'll set up a group (or you can!) at so we can share our experiences. Hope you all will join me!

Jo said...

Oh, I'd forgotten all about these. Time to go back I think, I could do with this in my life right now.

And I would be interested in your views on censorship, it would be interesting to see the issues from an educational perspective.

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