Be Brave – Never Give Up



A father writes a story for his 3-year-old son and future
daughter about the power of resilience.

There was once a tiny acorn named Winston.  Winston was a
happy acorn because everything in his life was just
right.  One day, his mom and dad said to him, “It’s time
for you to go and become a big oak tree, just like your mom and
dad.  But just remember, whatever may happen, be brave and
make sure to never give up.”  

“Okay, Mom and Dad.  I won’t ever give up!” Winston
replied.  Winston was so excited!  With that, the
wind picked up and blew Winston away from the reach of his
parents into the air.  Eager to start his journey to
becoming a tree, Winston shouted out, “HERE I

Winston was thrilled to become a big, strong oak tree just like
his mom and dad.  After landing on the ground, the wind
continued to roll him forward.  “This is fun!” he
exclaimed.  “I have never been on the ground
before!”.  As he rolled along, he saw many animals along
the way.  

“Hello Mr. Rabbit!  Hello, Mrs. Squirrel! Hello, Mr.
Bird!” shouted Winston as he moved along.  

As he was rolling along the ground, Winston suddenly fell into
a large hole.  “Oh no!” said Winston.  “This isn’t
good.  I’m stuck.”  Although he pushed and pushed,
Winston could not get out of the hole.  He was going
nowhere.  “Is anybody out there?  Mr. Rabbit? 
Mrs. Squirrel?  Mr. Bird?  Can you help me get out of
this hole?” Winston called out.  Unfortunately, none of
the animals heard Winston’s pleas for help.  So there he
remained – stuck in a hole all by himself.  

As time went on, Winston found himself getting lonely in the
hole.  Nobody was around to keep him company.  After
a few lonely days, the wind began to pick up again. 
Winston could hear the fierce winds howling above him. 
The winds became so fierce that dirt began to pile on top of
Winston.  “Oh yuck!” said Winston.  “This isn’t
good.  I’m getting dirt all over me.” Not only was Winston
stuck in a hole, but he was getting covered up with dirt. 
Nobody was ever going to find him!

Winston saw a bright flash of light and heard a loud
CRACK.  Lightning and thunder boomed all around him. 
Winston was scared.  Just as he began to grow more afraid
in the deep, dark hole covered with dirt, Winston felt the rain
pouring in on him.  “Oh no!” said Winston.  “This
isn’t good.  I’m getting all wet.”

There he sat, stuck in a deep, dark hole soaking wet with dirt
covering him up with no one to help him.  “This is
terrible.” Winston thought.  “I am never going to become a
tree!”  Winston felt hopeless and began to cry as the
storm battered down.  As he sat there in despair, Winston
remembered what his parents told him – “Be brave and never give
up”.  And so, Winston went on to repeat to himself, “Be
brave – never give up, be brave – never give up, be brave –
never give up.”    

Days went by and Winston continued to tell himself to be brave
and never give up.  Yet despite that, there he remained –
stuck in the deep, dark hole.  It was at that moment that
Winston felt something happen.  All of a sudden, the hard
outer shell around him began to crack.  He felt roots
begin to sprout below him.  “Oh no!” said Winston. 
“This isn’t good.  I’m supposed to be a tree.  I need
to grow up high into the sky – not down into the ground!” Not
only was Winston stuck down in a hole, he now felt like he was
growing in the wrong direction.  

Life just could not get any worse for Winston.  He was
stuck in a hole, covered in dirt, getting rained on, and now
was growing in the wrong direction! But he continued to remind
himself of the wise words he was taught… “Be brave – never give
up.” And so, he began to tell himself once again, “Be brave –
never give up, be brave – never give up, be brave – never give…

It was at the moment, Winston felt another crack!  He felt
something change.  Soon, he was pushing through the dirt
around him until he suddenly saw the light.  Winston was
growing! He was becoming a tree!

Winston pushed his way from the deep, dark hole, breaking free
from the dirt around him.  He saw the sun shining upon him
and a rainbow in the distance.  As he felt the warm sun,
he was determined to grow more and more, higher and higher into
the sky.  Driven to reach as high as he could, Winston
continued pushing toward the sun.  Eventually, he saw his
parents in the distance.  

“Mom, Dad! You’ll never guess what happened!” he
exclaimed.  “I fell into a hole, was covered up with dirt,
got all wet, and started growing in the wrong direction. It was
at that moment when I thought all was lost, but then I
remembered what you told me – “Be brave and never give

As Winston’s mom and dad listened, they said to him, “You see,
Winston.  You were exactly where you needed to be. 
It is sometimes in our lowest of moments where real growth
happens.  Being stuck in that hole is exactly where you
needed to be.  And that is why you must tell yourself to
be brave and never give up.”  

As the years went on and Winston grew taller than any tree in
the forest, he knew his parents were right.  It is right
at those toughest of times – when all hope seems lost and when
we are stuck in a hole, covered in dirt, and getting wet – that
we experience the transformation and remarkable growth that
ultimately takes us higher.  

“Be brave,” said Winston. “And never give up!”


This story is dedicated to my son, Henry, and
soon-to-be-born daughter.  I hope you both grow to learn
that through every moment of adversity lies great

Tags: brian
, education
, resilience

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