Recently my mother signed up to be a foster parent, and the experience has for the most part been challenging. The child I will call Nathaniel, in honor of the prophet, whose technique I have imitated. Since arriving in our home, Nathaniel has been increasingly difficult toward both my parents. Recently however he has entered a state of rebellion on par with the Prodigal Son. His disrespect and rudeness prompted me to confront Nathaniel, but in a way that he might be more likely to listen. I wrote a short Children’s story without an ending. After the story which ended on a somber cliffhanger, I told Nathaniel I have been trying to come up with a happy ending for the story, and I was wondering what he thinks should happen? He of course recognized the child in the story as himself and said he didn’t know how the story would end. I explained that however the story ends is up to him. I simply asked that he consider trying to make it a happy ending. The story I wrote for him is described below:


by Jeremy Burner

Once upon a time, there was a happy and polite mother

She had a big house with four happy and polite children

Their hearts and their house were full, and for years and years, everyone was happy.

One day though, her children grew up and went away to start their own happy families

But the mother was now alone with a big house and a big heart. Both were empty.

“A big house and a big heart should both be full. But what will I do?” She thought.

“I know I will find someone new to share both my heart and my house with.”

The mother was so happy when a child suddenly showed up at her door.

After all, both her house and her heart would once again be full.

But this child was different from her happy and polite children. 

He was rude and unhappy.

“I will help him make friends and show him fun things, and then he will be happy.” She said

But the child was so unhappy and rude that the other children did not want to play with him. 

Even the family dog did not like how unhappy and rude the child was.

“I will give him gifts and treat him like my own children, then he will be both polite and happy.”

 But the child hated the gifts and did not want to be treated like anyone’s child

“I will talk to him and teach him to be polite and happy,” she said to herself.

“I know everything said the child so you cannot teach me anything and I certainly don’t need to be happy,” demanded the child.

For weeks and weeks, she tried to make the child polite and happy but the child did not want to learn and did not want to be happy.

The mother was lost and unsure of what to do and pretty soon even she had become unhappy.

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