The following is from my book The Burning Heart: of a difference maker . Installment one of a series of three Burning Heart books.
Inspirational book for teens and young adults gives youth the power to forge their future using healthy life choices that are easy to understand and apply.
The Negative Flame
When we are little, our lessons are simple. Don’t touch things in the store when mommy says. Don’t play in the street. Live good and life will be good. Don’t pour chemicals you found in the trash on daddy’s new car again! (sorry flashback!) Then, as we grow older we notice things aren’t as simple as they were taught to us. You can live your whole life trying to make perfect choices and someone can come along and be terrible to you. It hurts. I call it “gettin’ burned”. Life can burn us in a number of ways. Things happen to us. Let’s just be honest: life can be really tough sometimes. Some people go through their whole life wounded from the burns life has given them. Some people seem to march on like it never happened…untouched by the negative flame.
(Read my blog entry “Untouched by the Flame”.)
The worst is when a burn comes from someone you looked up to. Sometimes the very people we think should protect us, hurt us. Most of the time it isn’t on purpose. You see, we all effect each other. In a moment of anger or fear, words or actions are chosen that hurt and burn. Your words are chosen and they effect me. Other choices you make effect my life. It really does. If you decide to do something bad or negative, it hurts people around you. Think about someone who hurt you. They could have chosen differently. You can choose too. The Negative Flame is when something that could be used to help, is used to harm… or just simply isn’t used at all.
If you choose to do nothing with your talents and gifts to help others make a difference in the world, it effects everyone. It spreads a Negative Flame. You may think it’s a small matter, but let me explain it like this:
Story Time Kiddos!
Train Land had a problem. Trains all over the country were unemployed and hungry. A huge shipment of train food was loaded into boxcars to be carried across the country to the hungry trains who needed it. A wise train man who looks like the monopoly man suggests that 5 trains split the load up. 1 to go to the Northeast. 1 to go to the Southeast. 1 to go to the Northwest. 1 to go to the Southwest and 1 to go through the Midwest. From there the shipments would be taken to every town in the country. Every one in train land agreed.
Upon hearing the plan the trains all held a grand meeting and decided to pick from among them the mightiest of trains. Five trains were selected and they set off for their destinations. One train that was selected really didn’t care about the plan or the hungry trains so, he left his boxcars sitting on the track until the next day. He went to a local hangout for trains and danced to really bad techno music all night long. The second train came to the spot on the tracks where Train #1 left his boxcars and she said “That’s not fair! How am I going to get through?” So she gave up and left her boxcars right there too. The next train came along and said “This is not good, but I will wait for help.” He slept there all night long.
The next day when Train #3 saw train number #1 he called out “Are you coming back to get your boxcars?” Train #1 just yawned “I really need some sleep! I’m tired. I’ll get it later.” Just then, train #4 appeared. “What’s all this?” She asked. “Everyone left” said train #3, “Where have you been?” Train #4 replied: “Train #5 got sick and couldn’t come so I offered to carry the extra boxcars. It’s slowing me down, but I’m feeling good. Maybe we can work together and get this done.”
The two trains worked tirelessly all day and night and into the next morning to get the boxcars to the first stop, but there was a mountain ahead and when they got over the first hill they could not go on. In fact the weight of the food was so great that they got stuck in the valley. The food rotted and the trains rusted and there was no happy ending.
Are you kidding me? That’s a horrible story, Shaun! What’s wrong with you?
Its a parable: a story with a message. The message is that every choice you make every action you take…effects the people around you. EVEN the action of doing nothing.
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