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Find out more about Chicken Soup for the Girl's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen at Simon & Schuster. Read book reviews & excerpts . Girl Power. As Olympus was heaven to the gods, this was heaven to me: the orange court with its three-point line, free-throw line and boundaries. This was. Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen Introduction We . She was a bright and cheerful little girl and the great man loved her very much.

I would look like a high school basketball player going up against Kobe Bryant. With these things in mind, I took my spot on the court. Girl Power As Olympus was heaven to the gods, this was heaven to me: the orange court with its three-point line, free-throw line and boundaries. The game was about to begin. All the teams had been selected, and I was one of the first picks on the blue team. I was thrilled! They chose me to play against the best boys The coach blew his whistle, and the game began.

Here I go, I thought. I should show these boys my skills and make them EAT my dust. I tried blocking passes, but the guys just shot over my diminutive body and swooshed the ball in.

85: Girl Power

I tried to guard them, but they pulled some tricky moves and I felt stupid as I spun around looking for the ball. One boy crossed over me, bounced the ball between my legs and shot a three-pointer.

Then another did a fake pump, acting like he was going to shoot the ball, and when I jumped up to block it, he dribbled around me and slam-dunked it. Yet another boy held the ball in the palm of his hand and kept fake passing it to other players. You name it, they did it.

Finally, I stole the ball. I was shocked to see the orange sphere in my hands. It was my chance to shine, my opportunity to make the people who doubted me look dumb. I knew that witnessing my skills would silence the teasing, but I had to do this right. I ran across that basketball court like a tornado destroying a city, and BAM, I tripped. How had it happened? It was then that I realized that my Nikes were untied.

Oh my goodness, I thought. Here I was trying to make myself shine, but I made a fool of myself instead. Introduction Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl? Anne Frank What exactly is a soul? Is it as light as air, as beautiful as an angel?

Is your soul what keeps you alive? Are you your soul? Vivian Ling, 11 For a girl growing up, life is an experience rich in swirling emotions and adjustments. But life for a preteen girl is far more than exchanging Barbies for bras.

Chicken Soup fan twelve-year-old Lindsey Appleton has this to say: Hormones, well, that is something everybody deals with. Like crying for no apparent reason and being happy—just because. And preteen reader Paige Rasmussen puts it this way: Right now is a time in our lives when we are dealing with peer pressure, boys and puberty.

And it is really nice to know that in a rough time like this in our lives, there is actually someone else in the world who is going through the same things! There are now hundreds of school children from the three schools we visited who will not be quite so ready to think of Americans as people who want to "nuke" them.

We danced, sang and played with children of every age, and then we hugged, kissed and shared presents. They gave us flowers, cakes, buttons, paintings, dolls, but most importantly, their hearts and open minds. More than once we were invited to be members of wedding parties, and no biological family member could have been more warmly accepted, greeted and feted than we were.

We hugged, kissed, danced and drank champagne, schnapps and vodka with the bride and groom, as well as Momma and Poppa and the rest of the family. In Kursk, we were hosted by seven Russian families who volunteered to take us in for a wonderful evening of food, drink and conversation.

Four hours later, none of us wanted to part. Our group now has a complete new family in Russia. The following night "our family" was feted by us at our hotel. The band played until almost midnight, and guess what? Once again we ate, drank, talked, danced and cried when it came time to say good-bye. We danced every dance as if we were passionate lovers, which is exactly what we were.

I could go on forever about our experiences, and yet there would be no way to convey to you exactly how we felt. How would you feel when you arrived at your hotel in Moscow, if there were a telephone message waiting for you, written in Russian, from Mikhail Gorbachev's office saying he regretted he could not meet with you that weekend because he would be out of town, but instead he had arranged for your entire group to meet for two hours in a round-table discussion with about a half- dozen members of the Central Committee?

We had an extremely frank discussion about everything, including sex. How would you feel if more than a dozen old ladies, wearing babushkas, came down from the steps of their apartment buildings and hugged and kissed you? How would you feel when your guides, Tanya and Natasha, told you and the whole group that they had never seen anyone like you?

And when we left, all 30 of us cried because we had fallen in love with these fabulous women, and they with us. Yes, how would you feel? Probably just like us. Each of us had our own experience, of course, but the collective experience bears out one thing for certain: The only way we are ever going to ensure peace on this planet is to adopt the entire world as "our family.

And dance and play with them. And we are going to have to sit and talk and walk and cry with them. Because when we do, we'll be able to see that, indeed, everyone is beautiful, and we all complement each other so beautifully, and we would all be poorer without each other.

Then the saying, "I know you, you're just like me! Our car was comparatively empty — a few housewives with their kids in tow, some old folks going shopping. I gazed absendy at the drab houses and dusty hedgerows. At one station the doors opened, and suddenly the afternoon quiet was shattered by a man bellowing violent, incomprehensible curses.

The man staggered into our car. He wore laborer's clothing and was big, drunk and dirty. Screaming, he swung at a woman holding a baby. The blow sent her spinning into the laps of an elderly couple.

It was a miracle that the baby was unharmed. Terrified, the couple jumped up and scrambled toward the other end of the car. The laborer aimed a kick at the retreating back of the old woman but missed as she scuttled to safety. This so enraged the drunk that he grabbed the metal pole in the center of the car and tried to wrench it out of its stanchion. I could see that one of his hands was cut and bleeding.

The train lurched ahead, the passengers frozen with fear. I stood up. I was young then, some 20 years ago, and in pretty good shape.

I'd been putting in a solid eight hours of Aikido training nearly every day for the past three years. I liked to throw and grapple. I thought I was tough.

The trouble was, my martial skill was untested in actual combat. As students of Aikido, we were not allowed to fight. Whoever has the mind to fight has broken his connection with the universe. If you try to dominate people, you're already defeated. We study how to resolve conflict, not how to start it. I tried hard. I even went so far as to cross the street to avoid the "chimpira," the pinball punks who lounged around the train stations.

My forbearance exalted me. I felt both tough and holy. In my heart, however, I wanted an absolutely legitimate opportunity whereby I might save the innocent by destroying the guilty. If I don't do something fast, somebody will probably get hurt. You need a lesson in Japanese manners! I planned to take this turkey apart, but he had to make the first move.

I wanted him mad, so I pursed my lips and blew him an insolent kiss.

A fraction of a second before he could move, someone shouted "Hey! I remember the strangely joyous, lilting quality of it — as though you and a friend had been searching diligently for something, and he had suddenly stumbled upon it. We both stared down at a little old Japanese man. He must have been well into his seventies, this tiny gentleman, sitting there immaculate in his kimono. He took no notice of me, but beamed delightedly at the laborer, as though he had a most important, most welcome secret to share.

The big man followed, as if on a string. He planted his feet belligerently in front of the old gentleman and roared above the clacking wheels, "Why the hell should I talk to you? If his elbow moved so much as a millimeter, I'd drop him in his socks. The old man continued to beam at the laborer. You see, I love sake, too. Every night, me and my wife she's 76, you know , we warm up a little bottle of sake and take it out into the garden, and we sit on an old wooden bench.

We watch the sun go down, and we look to see how our persimmon tree is doing. My greatgrandfather planted that tree, and we worry about whether it will recover from those ice storms we had last winter. Our tree has done better than I expected, though, especially when you consider the poor quality of the soil.

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It is gratifying to watch when we take our sake and go out to enjoy the evening — even when it rains! As he struggled to follow the old man, his face began to soften. His fists slowly unclenched.

I'm so ashamed of myself. As I stood there in my well-scrubbed youthful innocence, my make- this-world-safe-for-democracy righteousness, I felt dirtier than he was. Then the train arrived at my stop. As the doors opened, I heard the old man cluck sympathetically. Sit down here and tell me about it. The laborer was sprawled on the seat with his head in the old man's lap.

The old man was softly stroking the filthy, matted hair. As the train pulled away, I sat down on a bench in the station. What I had wanted to do with muscle had been accomplished with kind words. I had just seen Aikido in action, and the essence of it was love.

I would have to practice the art with an entirely different spirit. It would be a long time before I could speak about the resolution of conflict. Terry Dobson The Gentlest Need At least once a day our old black cat comes to one of us in a way that we've all come to see as a special request.

It does not mean he wants to be fed or to be let out or anything of that sort. His need is for something very different. If you have a lap handy, he'll jump into it; if you don't, he's likely to stand there looking wistful until you make him one. Once in it, he begins to vibrate almost before you stroke his back, scratch his chin and tell him over and over what a good kitty he is.

Then his motor really revs up; he squirms to get comfortable; he "makes big hands. He looks at you with wide open eyes of adoration, and he gives you the cat's long slow blink of ultimate trust. After a while, little by little, he quiets down. If he senses that it's all right, he may stay in your lap for a cozy nap. But he is just as likely to hop down and stroll away about his business.

Either way, he's all right. Our daughter puts it simply: I share it and so does my wife. We know the need isn't exclusive to any one age group. Still, because I am a schoolman as well as a parent, I associate it especially with youngsters, with their quick, impulsive need for a hug, a warm lap, a hand held out, a coverlet tucked in, not because anything's wrong, not because anything needs doing, just because that's the way they are.

There are a lot of things I'd like to do for all children. If I could do just one, it would be this: Kids, like cats, need time to purr.

Fred T. Wilhelms Bopsy The year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination.

Like any parent she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dreams to come true. She took her son's hand and asked, "Bopsy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Did you ever dream and wish about what you would do with your life? She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her six-year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day.

He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards! And, if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform made for him, with a real fire hat — not a toy one — with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.

They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast. Bopsy got to sit up on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station.

He was in heaven. There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Bopsy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the paramedics' van and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program. Having his dream come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Bopsy that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the Hospice concept that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Bopsy had spent as a fireman, so she called the fire chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Bopsy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire?

It's just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room? With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him. With his dying breath, Bopsy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now? With those words, Bopsy smiled and closed his eyes for the last time.

One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, "What's wrong with that little dog? It would always limp. It would always be lame. The little boy became excited. If you really want him, I'll just give him to you. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, "I don't want you to give him to me.

That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I'll pay full price. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, "Well, I don't run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!

Holmes," quipped a friend, "I should think you'd feel rather small among us big fellows. Antoine de Saint-Exupery In the fall of my wife Georgia and I were invited to give a presentation on self-esteem and peak performance at a conference in Hong Kong. Since we had never been to the Far East before, we decided to extend our trip and visit Thailand. When we arrived in Bangkok, we decided to take a tour of the city's most famous Buddhist temples.

Along with our interpreter and driver, Georgia and I visited numerous Buddhist temples that day, but after a while they all began to blur in our memories.

However, there was one temple that left an indelible impression in our hearts and minds. It is called the Temple of the Golden Buddha.

The temple itself is very small, probably no larger than thirty feet by thirty feet. But as we entered, we were stunned by the presence of a ten-and-a- half-foot tall, solid-gold Buddha. It weighs over two-and-a-half tons and is valued at approximately one hundred and ninety-six million dollars!

It was quite an awesome sight — the kindly gentle, yet imposing solid-gold Buddha smiling down at us. As we immersed ourselves in the normal sightseeing tasks taking pictures while oohing and ahhing over the statue , I walked over to a glass case that contained a large piece of clay about eight inches thick and twelve inches wide.

Next to the glass case was a typewritten page describing the history of this magnificent piece of art. Back in a group of monks from a monastery had to relocate a clay Buddha from their temple to a new location. The monastery was to be relocated to make room for the development of a highway through Bangkok. When the crane began to lift the giant idol, the weight of it was so tremendous that it began to crack. What's more, rain began to fall. The head monk, who was concerned about damage to the sacred Buddha, decided to lower the statue back to the ground and cover it with a large canvas tarp-to protect it from the rain.

Later that evening the head monk went to check on the Buddha. He shined his flashlight under the tarp to see if the Buddha was staying dry.

As the light reached the crack, he noticed a little gleam shining back and thought it strange. As he took a closer look at this gleam of light, he wondered if there might be something underneath the clay.

He went to fetch a chisel and hammer from the monastery and began to chip away at the clay. As he knocked off shards of clay, the little gleam grew brighter and bigger. Many hours of labor went by before the monk stood face to face with the extraordinary solid-gold Buddha. Historians believe that several hundred years before the head monk's discovery, the Burmese army was about to invade Thailand then called Siam. The Siamese monks, realizing that their country would soon be attacked, covered their precious golden Buddha with an outer covering of clay in order to keep their treasure from being looted by the Burmese.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Burmese slaughtered all the Siamese monks, and the well-kept secret of the golden Buddha remained intact until that fateful day in As we flew home on Cathay Pacific Airlines I began to think to myself, "We are all like the clay Buddha covered with a shell of hardness created out of fear, and yet underneath each of us is a 'golden Buddha' a 'golden Christ' or a 'golden essence,' which is our real self.

Somewhere along the way, between the ages of two and nine, we begin to cover up our 'golden essence,' our natural self. Much like the monk with the hammer and the chisel, our task now is to discover our true essence once again. When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.

But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.

Anonymous Nothing But The Truth! Szymanski always had been modest and unassuming.

So when the proceedings were over, he took Szymanski aside and asked why he had made such a statement. Szymanski blushed. Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung and missed. Undaunted, he picked up the ball, threw it into the air and said to himself, "I'm the greatest player ever! He paused a moment to examine bat and ball carefully. Then once again he threw the ball into the air and said, "I'm the greatest baseball player who ever lived. When asked what she was drawing, she replied that she was drawing God.

Jacque Hall What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. There are people who have some parts like me but no one adds up exactly like me.

Therefore, everything that comes out of me is authentically mine because I alone choose it. I own everything about me — my body, including everything it does; my mind, including all my thoughts and ideas; my eyes, including the images of all they behold; my feelings, whatever they might be — anger, joy, frustration, love, disappointment, excitement; my mouth and all the words that come out of it — polite, sweet and rough, correct or incorrect; my voice, loud and soft; all my actions, whether they be to others or myself.

I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own all my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with me in all my parts. I can then make it possible for all of me to work in my best interests. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know.

But as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for the solutions to the puzzles and for ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is me. This is authentic and represents where I am at that moment in time. When I review later how I looked and sounded, what I said and did, and how I thought and felt, some parts may turn out to be unfitting.

I can discard that which is unfitting and keep that which proved fitting, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me and therefore I can engineer me. I am me and I am okay. I could smell her before I rounded the entrance to where she slept, standing up, by the public phones.

I smelled the urine that seeped through the layers of her dirty clothing and the decay from her nearly toothless mouth. If she was not asleep, she mumbled incoherently. Now they close the post office at six to keep the homeless out, so she curls up on the sidewalk, talking to herself, her mouth flapping open as though unhinged, her smells diminished by the soft breeze.

One Thanksgiving we had so much food left over, I packed it up, excused myself from the others and drove over to Fifth Street. It was a frigid night. Leaves were swirling around the streets and hardly anyone was out, all but a few of the luckless in some warm home or shelter.

But I knew I would find her. She was dressed as she always was, even in summer: The warm woolly layers concealing her old, bent body. Her bony hands clutched the precious shopping cart. She was squatting against a wire fence in front of the playground next to the post office. I pulled my shiny car to the curb, rolled down the window and said, "Mother. I said, again, "Mother, I've brought you some food.

Would you like some turkey and stuffing and apple pie? Why don't you take it to someone who really needs it? Then I was dismissed: Her head sank into her rags again.

You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error: The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works.

A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons.

If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. Your answers lie inside you.

The answers to Life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust. You will forget all this. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn what envy is.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient. If children live with encouragement, they learn to be confident. If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.

Chicken Soup for the Girl's Soul

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world. If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous. If children live with honesty and fairness, they learn what truth and justice are.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those around them. If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If children live with serenity, they learn to have peace of mind. With what are your children living? They expected us to do morning and evening chores, get to school on time, get decent grades and be good people.

There are six children. Six children! It was never my idea that there should be so many of us, but then no one consulted me. To make matters worse, fate dropped me off in the middle of the American heartland in a most harsh and cold climate. Like all children, I thought that there had been a great universal mistake and I had been placed in the wrong family — most definitely in the wrong state.

I disliked coping with the elements. The winters in Iowa are so freezing cold that you have to make rounds in the middle of the night to see that livestock aren't stranded in a place where they would freeze to death. Newborn animals had to be taken in the barn and sometimes warmed up in order to be kept alive.

Winters are that cold in Iowa! My dad, an incredibly handsome, strong, charismatic and energetic man was always in motion. My brothers and sisters and I were in awe of him. We honored him and held him in the highest esteem.

Now I understand why. There were no inconsistencies in his life. He was an honorable man, highly principled. Farming, his chosen work, was his passion; he was the best. He was at home raising and caring for animals.

He felt at one with the earth and took great pride in planting and harvesting the crops. He refused to hunt out of season, even though deer, pheasants, quail and other game roamed our farmlands in abundance.

He refused to use soil additives or feed the animals anything other than natural grains. He taught us why he did this and why we must embrace the same ideals. Today I can see how conscientious he was because this was in the mid- s before there was an attempt at universal commitment to earth- wide environmental preservation. Dad was also a very impatient man, but not in the middle of the night when he was checking his animals during these late night rounds.

The relationship we developed from these times together was simply unforgettable. It made a compelling difference in my life. I learned so much about him. I often hear men and women say they spent so little time with their fathers. Indeed the heart of today's men's groups is about groping for a father they never really knew. I knew mine.

Back then I felt as if I was secretly his favorite child, although it's quite possible that each of us six children felt that way. Now that was both good news and bad. The bad news was that I was the one selected by Dad to go with him for these midnight and early morning barnyard checks, and I absolutely detested getting up and leaving a warm bed to go out into the frosty air. But my dad was at his best and most lovable during those times. He was most understanding, patient, gentle and was a good listener.

His voice was gentle and his smile made me understand my mother's passion for him. It was during these times when he was a model teacher — always focusing on the whys, the reasons for doing.

He talked endlessly for the hour or hour-and-a-half that it took to make the rounds. He talked about his war experiences, the whys of the war he served in and about the region, its people, the effects of war and its aftermath. Again and again he told his story. In school I found history all the more exciting and familiar. He talked about what he gained from his travels and why seeing the world was so important.

He instilled a need and love of traveling. I had worked in or visited some 30 countries by the time I was 30 years old. He talked about the need and love of learning and why a formal education is important, and he talked about the difference between intelligence and wisdom. He wanted so much for me to go beyond my high school degree.

You are bright, you have a good mind and, remember, you're a Burres. I had more than enough confidence to tackle any course of study. Eventually I completed a Ph. Though the first doctorate was for Dad and the second for me, there was definitely a sense of curiosity and quest that made both easy to attain.

He talked about standards and values, developing character and what it meant in the course of one's life. I write and teach on a similar theme. He talked about how to make and evaluate decisions, when to cut your losses and walk away and when to stick it out, even in the face of adversity. He talked about the concept of being and becoming and not just having and getting. I still use that phrase. He talked about gut instincts and how to decipher between those and emotional sells, and how to avoid being fooled by others.

He said, "Always listen to your instincts and know that all the answers you'll ever need are within you. Take quiet time alone.But what if the boys are WAY better than me? Three years later I returned to that city to present another management seminar to approximately the same group. But life for a preteen girl is far more than exchanging Barbies for bras. The man staggered into our car. I got discharged into my parents' care. With his dying breath, Bopsy looked up at the fire chief and said, "Chief, am I really a fireman now?

No one would know what really happened because people were bound to exaggerate the story to make it funnier. Unfortunately, I was the only girl.

I just wanted you to know I appreciate the effort you're making.

EMMANUEL from Albuquerque
I love sharing PDF docs nervously . Review my other posts. I have only one hobby: wine making.