Back to school for the brave

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Story File


Bravery and being nice

Main Lesson

The way we come across to others greatly influences how they treat us.


The forest school


A little rabbit, her aunt and her schoolmates

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Back to school for the brave

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Conejita valiente

Term was about to begin and Cony the little rabbit was frightened because this year she was starting a new school. So afraid was she that the day before she dug a deep burrow and locked herself in.

“I’m staying here. I am sure there are animals who are mean in the new school and teachers who are scary.”

So they called her aunt and godmother, Eleanora. She always knew what to do.

“Don’t worry Cony. I will take you to visit several schools and you can choose the one where the people seem the nicest.”

The little rabbit was persuaded and next morning they visited a rather horrible-looking school. At the door was a man selling flaming hedgehog spikes, skunk stench and bull horns.

“Don’t go in there without these weapons”, said the salesman. “Anything could happen to you.”

Cony bought everything and walked in very carefully. As predicted, there was no one nice there. Not even fawns or koalas. No one said anything and Cony felt like everyone was watching her waiting for the moment to attack her. She was on edge the whole time during her visit.

“What a horrible school, Auntie!” she said when they left. “I hope the one we see tomorrow is better.”

However, things didn't look any better in the second school. Another salesman was selling armour for self-protection. He recommended the threatening teeth and the bodyguard shell, so Cony put them on and entered the school expecting the worst.

But as soon as she entered a small, friendly hedgehog came over and greeted her. Soon a monkey arrived smiling and gave her a big hug. She toured the whole school surrounded by lovely animals.

But Cony was very smart and she soon discovered something odd.

“Auntie. This place looks a lot like the school we saw yesterday, and I have seen some of these animals before… I think it’s all a trap. They are being nice so they can attack us!”

“You are a very smart niece” said Eleanora. “There is no way of fooling you, but it is not a trap… look at yourself in the mirror.

The little rabbit went to look at herself. The threatening teeth she had brought weren't scary at all. On the contrary it seemed that Cony had a very big smile. Also, on the back of the shell was a message saying “I Love Hugs” and a thumbs up. The truth is she looked adorable.

“Now look at the photo I took yesterday,” her auntie continued, showing her what she looked like with her fiery hedgehog spikes, her serious face and her bull horns.

“Well, it makes you want to run away just from looking at me” said Cony.

“And that's what happened, sweetie. Yesterday they were not friendly to you because you didn’t look the most friendly either. However, those same children are delighted to be and play with you because you seem much friendlier…”

Cony understood her auntie’s trick right away and ran to the door salesman, who was none other than her Dad in disguise. She gave him a big kiss and said:

“Thank you, Daddy, I am no longer scared of going to school. Now I know that I can help everyone be much kinder to me.”

Of course, just in case, she put her threatening teeth in her pocket in case one day she ever found it a little harder to smile.

Translated by Carlota Burnside Ribera, Manchester Metropolitan University

Let's work on this story, now that is fresh on our minds!

A minute for thinking

Just as we can be worried about what others are going to do, others can also be afraid of us. Have you ever thought about how others see you? What do you think you could do or say to make those who don't know you feel more comfortable with you the first time? Think about whether you could treat other people the way you would like to be treated when you don’t know them, because they might have your same worries.

Let's talk!

The fear of the unknown makes it more difficult and scarier to start in new places or with new people. Tell your child about one of those first days at work or in some other similar circumstance where you were especially nervous but which in the end turned out well and led to great experiences and friendships

Why don't you try this?

Making people feel at ease in our company is an invaluable quality that must be nurtured. I propose to turn the family into “menacing” smile collectors: the idea is to try and get smiles from anyone (known or unknown) through your gestures or words. First, make a figure that represents each of you. At the end of the day you get together to count the smiles and place the ‘hug shell’ on the figure of the person who has earned most smiles. Place it in the middle of a big group hug to help you to finish the day in a very fun way.

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