Smiling sharks and giving thanks

This is the story of Smiley Shark

Once upon a time, there lived the friendliest, funniest, and sunniest shark in all the world. Smiley Shark loved to smile, and all he wanted was to swim freely with all of the other fish in the sea.

Unfortunately, none of the other sea creatures wanted to be his friend. Smiley Shark’s big, toothy smile scared them all away, and Smiley Shark grew less and less smiley as time went by.

Then one day, all of the other sea creatures became trapped in a fisherman’s net. “Help us, Smiley Shark!” they cried.

Smiley Shark did the only thing he could. He swam up to the fisherman’s boat, jumped up out of the water, and… smiled!

The fisherman was so terrified that he screamed, dropped his net, and sped away as fast as he could.

The sea creatures were free, and it was all thanks to Smiley Shark. They were so grateful to him for saving their lives that they swam together in friendship throughout the seas and oceans and lived happily ever after.

The end.

* * *

The second grade students loved the story of Smiley Shark and after reading the book, drew pictures about the story and about their own experiences helping others.

The remarkable power in working with young children is that through teaching them, the one who’s supposedly doing the ‘teaching’ ultimately ends up doing a great deal of learning.

Through the bright-eyed innocence of two second grade classrooms, I was reminded of an important and fundamental lesson about the interrelatedness of asking for help, offering it to those in need, and giving thanks for the help you get.

None of us would be who we are now if it weren’t for someone who lent a hand along the way. I certainly wouldn’t be living here in this endlessly breathtaking remote western isle if not for every person who has touched my life, in passing or in partnership.

This is a country filled with flora and fauna, trouble and hardship, creation and destruction. It’s not unlike many other parts of the world. People here, like anywhere else, survive in part by the help they get from others.

When we offer ourselves in service, we open our hearts to receiving help from others, and hopefully continue to give back in return…

and the key to perpetuating this cycle of positivity…

… is gratitude.

Giving thanks,




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shannon
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 21:10:23

    Brought tears to my eyes…we miss you!


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