Part 127 12/20/2019 The Claire’s Story: Larry Goes back to the monastery   

By      P. Berman, K. Hecht & A. Hosack 

I don’t understand who I amI feel so torn up inside- except with the plants. I can feel comfortable around them!   

Larry came back to live at the monastery last week and most of the time he feels tortured by questions about himself. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why is he here? Two months have gone by, since his accident. While his physical rehabilitation exercises have helped him regain physical strength, none of his brain exercises have brought back a single memoryWhile some of the memories he had lost were bound to have been bad, to have no memories at all was so alarming. The closest thing to memories he has were feelings of familiarity he gained doing small everyday things. When he drank coffee, he felt as if he must have done this countless times before. Back at the monastery, the outside courtyard and his bedroom feels familiar, yet none of the people do. They all look like strangers – yet they know his name. 


Everyone is kind to him. But they all seem to have so many questions. He has no answers. Only here amongst the plants does he feel safe. The plants don’t ask him any questions he can’t answer. They don’t look disappointed that he doesn’t want to talk. 

Ted was laying on his back in the courtyard when Larry finished with the garden and was shutting the gate. Larry heard Ted swear and looked to see his hand touching the ground all around a tool that was just beyond Ted’s reach. Larry knelt down and put the wrench into Ted’s groping hand. Ted just went on with his work, as if nothing had happened. He understood that Larry wasn’t ready to talk and just left him alone. 

Ted had picked him up at the hospital when it was time to return to the monastery. He knew Larry was struggling to remember his past, so he had filled the time back with stories of the different car projects they had worked on. Larry appreciated Ted saying he had been a great assistant, but somehow it was even more spooky, than not remembering anything, was to have this strange man knowing so much about him. 

As the days became weeks, Larry’s time began to follow a regular schedule. He got up at 6, had breakfast with the monks and participated in morning prayers. Then, he worked in the garden until lunch time. After lunch, he often had to go directly to sleep for a long nap. Ted would wake him at five so he could eat dinner and attend evening prayers before falling to sleep again.   

Everyone is so patient with me. Why is it so hard for me to be patient like them? Why does my head always hurt? 

Larry was amazed at how calm things always seemed to be. Even though he wasn’t talking much, inside his brain was rushing around in circles, trying to remember something. His head either felt completely blank or so full of images he didn’t understand that his brain ached. His only sense of peace came in the garden. His back might ache if he re-potted too many plants, but just sitting still and looking at the garden was enough to make his aches and pains disappear. 

The abbot had explained to all the monks that Larry needed a great deal of rest and as much help as they could give him remember who he was. Slowly, they had been reteaching him their names. The monk who oversaw the garden was slowly teaching him the names of all the plants and how to care for them.   Larry felt better in the garden than anywhere else. 

Is it strange that Larry is more comfortable around plants than people? 

Have you ever felt that way? 

There is some evidence that just being around green spaces, whether you work on the plants or not is good for your mental health. To learn how greenery and plants are good for people read: 



Part 126 12/18/2019 Claire’s Story: Larry Goes to rehabilitation services

By      A. Hosack, P. Berman, & K. Hecht, 

What is wrong with me! I am as dumb as a stump!! 

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Larry doesn’t understand? Why can he remember how to brush his teeth, but not what his name is. The rehabilitation specialist is giving him “exercises” for his body and brain to help him recover from his accident as much as he can. He is having nightmares of a dark basement, over and over. But he doesn’t understand why. He knows his name is Larry because they told him so when he woke up from his coma. Larry was feeling increasingly agitated until two monks came down from the monastery. They told him his history with them and helped him pray for a full recovery. 

While Larry tried to pray along with them, he didn’t remember any of the words; had he known them before? Something about their prayers did feel familiar to him. He became anxious when three hours later they said they needed to leave – he didn’t want to be alone – he needed to be with people who “knew” who he wasHe felt so much better when they told him that other monks would return to pray with him tomorrow; they would not be abandoning him.  

When Martin came onto the ward the next day, he was on time to see Larry kneeling with two monks and rocking back and forth with them as they chanted in Latin. Was this the Larry he knew? 

How do the injuries his brain received influence who Larry is right now?  

Is he the same person? 

Can brain injury change someone’s personality? 

Who we are is located within our brains.  A very patient person may become impatient after a brain injury. Even someone’s sense of humor can be influenced by brain injuries. If you are a friend or loved one of someone trying to recover, the following article can help you recognize the types of things that will or will not help someone trying to recover: 


Part 125 12/16/2019 Claire’s Story: Larry wakes up

By     K. Hecht, A. Hosack &   P. Berman, 

Is he ever going to wake up? Is he dreaming about something? 

Martin had been coming to the hospital every day for three weeks to watch Larry in intensive care. It’s boring yet dangerous to just be here. He must monitor if Larry wakes up. However, what’s he going to do if the police at the hospital ever find out he doesn’t have a family member in the intensive care unit? Staring at Larry through the clear glass, just out of sheer frustration, Martin knocks loudly. It was probably a coincidence but, did he just see Larry move his head? He tapped on the glass again- yes, Larry has begun to move.  

Is this good news? Probably not…. 

Trying to keep a low profile, Martin walked out of the hospital to call the gang. He got yelled at big time because he couldn’t answer a single question. He didn’t know if Larry remembered the accident, the gang, the drug money…. he didn’t know anything. Martin walked back in the hospital again and returned to the nursing station. 

the nurses were very busy. But finally, he got a break. A nurse came running down the hall and told everyone behind the desk that Larry had begun to thrash around in bed and mumble. These were good signs. Maybe he would wake up soon The nurses were all smiling but Marin swore to himself. A nurse heard him and asked in a kind voice, Is something wrong sir.” “Sorry to bother you ma‘am. I just wasn’t thinking and jammed my foot against the wall.” She smiled at him and he hurried down the hall as if he had somewhere else to go. 

Martin hid in the bathroom until the shift changed. He couldn’t risk the nurse seeing him again too soon. An hour later, Martin was tapping the glass again and this time he saw Larry’s eyes pop open and then fall shut again. A nurse entered the intensive care unit and began to check each patient. Martin watched in silence as she worked her way down to Larry. As she took Larry’s hand to check something, he jerked. The nurse began to say something to Larry and his eyes opened up again. The nurse looked very excited even though Larry was just staring at her. 

 Would he remember what caused the accident?  

Out in the parking lot, Martin called in and was told to watch Larry carefully and if he improved enough to be taken out of intensive care, to make sure he got some answers about whether Larry was a threat to the gang. Martin vacillated between being bored to death and being anxious as he watched Larry through the glass.  Larry was improving. He kept his eyes open longer and seemed to be trying to move his arms and legs before falling back to sleep. 

Friday morning, he was wheeled out of intensive care into a room with another male patient. Martin waited for his moment and then walked into the room where Larry seemed to be tossing and turning. “Hey fella, are you okay?” Martin said intentionally loudly to try to wake Larry fully up. Larry opened his eyes and looked at Martin carefully,  then he said slowly slurring his speech, “excuse me, do I know you?”  

Was Larry playing dumb?  

Later in the afternoon when Larry was asleep, a doctor came in and Martin pretended he was one of Larry’s friends from work. “How bad is he?” Martin asked. “He doesn’t recognize me.” “Don’t be too worried about that,” the doctor said, “Your friend had a very serious head injury, he may never remember the accident that he was in.  

“How much better will he get? Martin said torn between worry and guilt. “I am sorry sir, but we really can’t tell at this point. Keep talking to him and let’s see where he is in another week.” 

 spread through him. “Well, his arms and legs went through significant trauma. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some decrease in mobility that might make him need to take on a different type of job that he had before. I can see from the notes in his chart that he been driving a van and had been helping to make van repairs. This is job might require too much physical strength and agility. But don’t worry, the rehabilitation specialists at the hospital will conduct an assessment and give him some good ideas for how to proceed in the future.” 

Martin went onto the internet to learn more about traumatic brain injury. He had to figure out how dangerous Larry was to the gang. To learn more yourself consider clicking the link below: 

Part 124 12/13/2019 Claire’s Story: The Police come for Kevin

By    P. Berman, K. Hecht & A. Hosack 


They are having such a good time. I hate to interrupt. But that little boy matches the description of who I am looking for! 

Officer Fernandez had been watching Claire, Davy, and Kevin as they ate their snack underneath the tree. In some ways, they just seemed liked a carefree group. However, only Davy really seemed carefree. Something seemed to be on the woman’s mind, she looked so serious. And, one little boy was dominating the conversation while the other, who kept giving her covert looks, seemed to be trying to sink into the ground at the base of the tree. bodyworn-794110_1920

As Officer Fernandez walked closer to the tree, she noticed Kevin looked everywhere but at her. “Good morning ma’am,” Officer Fernandez said to Claire. “It looks like you and your boys are having a real feast,” she said. “Yes, it is so good,” Davy said through a mouth full of chocolate cake.  “Did you bring it all,” the officer asked. Looking serious, Claire said, no officer, I brought the sandwiches, the apples and the carrots. Kevin brought the chocolate milk and cupcakes from his mother.” “Which one of you lucky little boys has the mom who sent the cupcakes?” The officer said. “It’s him,” Davy said pointing at Kevin. “He is going to introduce us to his mommy later when she gets back from running errands.” 

I would really like to meet Kevin’s mommy right away. Ma’am, do you have a way of getting in touch with her now?” Officer Fernandez asked. Claire looked anxiously between the two boys. “No ma’am, Kevin is a new friend to my son Davy. Today will be the first day I’ll meet his mommy,” Claire said anxiously. In her heart of hearts, she didn’t think she was going to be meeting Kevin’s mother. The officer showing up had increased her fears that Kevin might not have been given the food by his family. doubts. 

Something isn’t adding up here. I don’t like the look on that kid’s face. Something is wrong. 

“Kevin, can you tell me how I might get in touch with your mommy now?” the officer said. Kevin looked scared. He grabbed Claire’s hand and said, “I don’t know where she is right now. Please don’t leave me with the police. I don’t know how to talk to police.” Claire patted Kevin’s hand and said, “of course I won’t leave you Kevin until we find your mommy. Kids need to stay with a grown-up.”  

No. No. No. What should I do. I’m scared! 

Kevin didn’t want to go looking for his mommy. Maybe they would find her. “Just take me to jail. Please don’t take me home,” Kevin said desperately. “Why would I take you to jail?” the officer asked Kevin. Covered now in sweat and should trying to shrink into the ground he said, “my mommy didn’t give me the chocolate milk and the cupcakes. I just took them from the store around the corner. Just take me to jail but please don’t take me home,” Kevin said. Davy was shocked. “I was afraid you were a bad friend but I hoped you weren’t.” “What do you mean Davy? What have I ever done to hurt you?” “You gave me stolen food to eat,” Davy said sadly. 

As Officer Fernandez walked closer to the tree, she noticed Kevin looked everywhere but at her. “Good morning ma’am,” Officer Fernandez said to Claire. “It looks like you and your boys are having a real feast,” she said. “Yes, it is so good,” Davy said through a mouth full of chocolate cake.  “Did you bring it all,” the officer asked. Looking serious, Claire said, no officer, I brought the sandwiches, the apples and the carrots. Kevin brought the chocolate milk and cupcakes from his mother.” “Which one of you lucky little boys has the mom who sent the cupcakes?” The officer said. “It’s him,” Davy said pointing at Kevin. “He is going to introduce us to his mommy later when she gets back from running errands.” 

I would really like to meet Kevin’s mommy right away. Ma’am, do you have a way of getting in touch with her now?” Officer Fernandez asked. Claire looked anxiously between the two boys. “No ma’am, Kevin is a new friend to my son Davy. Today will be the first day I’ll meet his mommy,” Claire said anxiously. In her heart of hearts, she didn’t think she was going to be meeting Kevin’s mother. The officer showing up had increased her fears that Kevin might not have been given the food by his family. doubts. 

Something isn’t adding up here. I don’t like the look on that kid’s face. Something is wrong. 

“Kevin, can you tell me how I might get in touch with your mommy now?” the officer said. Kevin looked scared. He grabbed Claire’s hand and said, “I don’t know where she is right now. Please don’t leave me with the police. I don’t know how to talk to police.” Claire patted Kevin’s hand and said, “of course I won’t leave you Kevin until we find your mommy. Kids need to stay with a grown-up.”  

No. No. No. What should I do. I’m scared! 

Kevin didn’t want to go looking for his mommy. Maybe they would find her. “Just take me to jail. Please don’t take me home,” Kevin said desperately. “Why would I take you to jail?” the officer asked Kevin. Covered now in sweat and should trying to shrink into the ground he said, “my mommy didn’t give me the chocolate milk and the cupcakes. I just took them from the store around the corner. Just take me to jail but please don’t take me home,” Kevin said. Davy was shocked. “I was afraid you were a bad friend but I hoped you weren’t.” “What do you mean Davy? What have I ever done to hurt you?” “You gave me stolen food to eat,” Davy said sadly. 

have to run I can’t go home. 

Kevin didn’t trust police officer. He had tried trusting Claire, but grownups could not be trusted; Davy was stupid to trust his mom. Kevin jumped up and sprinted across the park and into the trees. The officer took off after him, but Claire called out, “when you catch him, please bring him back here first. He shouldn’t go alone to the police station. He should have a mommy with him even if it’s not the right mommy.”  

Would the police officer listen? 

Claire was worried. Kevin might not have done anything wrong. Or, he might have stolen that food. Whatever was closer to the truth, he still needed an adult looking out for him. Would Officer Fernandez bring him back? Davy broke into Claire’s thoughts with, “Kevin was fast. Do you think the police officer will find him?” Claire hugged Davy close and said, “don’t worry Davy. I know this is scary. But Kevin needs help. If the police officer doesn’t bring him back here, we will go to the nearest station and ask if Kevin has been brought there.”  

Davy looked up at his mom and said, we care about him because he’s a friend, even though he might be a bad friend right mommy?”  “We care Davy because he’s a child, and grown-ups need to look after children.” Davy smiled up at his mommy, “you are a good mommy, you will look out for Kevin even if he stole those yummy cupcakes.” Claire began to pack up their belongings so they would be ready if Officer Fernandez came back, “yes, Davy, we will look out for Kevin.” 

Should Claire leave Kevin to Officer Fernandez? Does it matter if he stole that food or not? 

When crimes are committed, do you believe we deter future crimes by using a punishment model? If so, Kevin needs to be punished for stealing, even if he stole because he was hungry. Would we deter more crime if we taught Kevin to be honest and respect the property of others, even when he is hungry? 

Under which model do you think Kevin would be more likely to fear a police officer? 

“The National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ) is a non-profit, membership driven organization that provides a support system for educators, practitioners and others interested in restorative and community justice.  The primary means to fulfill this purpose are educational and carried out through the biannual National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice, networking tools, resources available on its accessible website and a bi-monthly publication the “Restorative Well”.  The NACRJ uses principles of social and restorative justice to assist educators, practitioners and others to seek transformation in the ways harm and justice questions within the United States are addressed through prevention, repair and healing.  The Association promotes effective responses to conflict, incivility, crime and injustice that are equitable, sustainable, socially constructive and prevention oriented.  

To learn more about different models for ending juvenile crime and how well they work consider going to the NACRJ website: 


Part 123 12/11/2019 Claire’s Story: Claire is losing sleep

By   A. Hosack & P. Berman, K. Hecht 

Claire hadn’t slept well all week. She was worried about Kevin, but she hadn’t called ChildLine. How could she? She had no idea where he lived or what his last name was. This Saturday, if Kevin showed up at the park, she had to find a way to get this information from him.  the night before she took Davy to the park next week. She packed the snack with particular care. She would watch what he ate. Davy always ate all the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but, if he wasn’t hungry, he would skip the fruit. Today, she also added carrot sticks. Surely, if he wolfed down fruit and vegetables, she was justified in fearing he wasn’t getting enough to eat.  

When they got to the park. Kevin was already sitting under the tree. He jumped up when he saw them  boy-running-during-sunset-1416736

coming and ran to Davy. “I hoped you would come! My mommy packed a snack for me to share with you today!” Both boys ran towards the tree and sat down. There were three cartons of chocolate milk and three snack cakes sitting on napkins. “Your mommy sent great snacks,” Davy said in excitement, “please thank her for us! “I want to thank her too,” Claire said“I’d really like to thank her for sending her nice boy to play with my Davy.  I also want to shake her hand and give her some of our snack today, so we aren’t strangers to each other anymore.” The smile that had begun, when Claire had called him a “nice boy” was wiped off Kevin’s face, when Claire said she wanted to actually meet his mommy. He looked down and saidshe had to go run errands, but maybe when she comes back,” Kevin said. 

Do you think that Kevin’s mommy is really running errands? 

If she is, would you be worried that she sent snacks but isn’t worried about meeting Claire? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, if Kevin’s mommy is leaving him alone at the park, this would be neglect, and specifically it would be considered, “inappropriate supervision.” Kevin’s mommy would be trusting Kevin to monitor his own safety at the park. The fact that Kevin was so quick to take food from a stranger, demonstrates how impossible it is for children to be able to make this type of decision for themselves. 

To read descriptions that would help you identify different forms of abuse and neglect, go to: 

Part 122 12/9/2019 Claire’s Story: Kevin seems too hungry

By   A. Hosack & P. Berman, K. Hecht 


I don’t know if I want to play with him again or not. I have fun with him. But maybe he steals…. 

Claire’s taking Davy to the park. He had been looking forward to going all week. At breakfast, he had danced around the kitchen with his cereal bowl as he reminded his mommy they were going. But now the excitement he had felt earlier felt bad- more like worry. He enjoyed his time so much more at the park when he played with somebody else. But what if the somebody else was Kevin. Should he play with him? 

He didn’t want to bring it up because if his mommy told him he couldn’t play with Kevin, then that was that. But maybe if he just started playing with him, she wouldn’t say anything. What should he do? His stomach was feeling so upset, he had to speak up and get help.“Mommy, if I see Kevin at the park I don’t know if I should play with him or not because maybe he steals?” Davy said looking sad.  Claire looked back at Davy carefully and said, “It is important to know that all of your friends are good friends Davy. It isn’t always easy to tell at first if someone is going to be a good friend or not. You just met Kevin. You really don’t know much about him – including how he gets his candy bars and his chocolate milk. Take things slowly and remember tact like a good friend yourself.” 

My stomach feels better! Why is it always so hard to ask mommy for help? 

Davy didn’t understand himself sometimes. His mommy always had good advice. Sometimes she was quick to yell but most of the time, she always took her time and was fair to him. Why did he have trouble asking her about Kevin? He shrugged and let it go. What was important was that he wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Kevin and his mom had said it was okay to take time to figure out if Kevin was a good or bad friend. 

Davy held his mommy’s hand as they walked across the parking lot and into the park. He led her to her favorite tree where she sat down and took out her book. Davy was supposed to stay within her site the whole time he played. The tree was in a great location- right in the middle of all the play equipment. As he went over to get on the swing, Davy noticed that Kevin was walking towards him. He felt a mixture of anxiety and excitement. He had a friend to play with but, he might have something hard to figure out. 

I am hungry. I wonder if Mommy brought any of my favorite snacks? 

Kevin and Davy had been pushing each other on the swing and laughing a lot. It was such a warm sunny day and it felt like they owned the park because no other kids were there. Davy noticed his stomach had started to growl and he said, “Kevin, let’s go over to my mommy and eat some snacks!” Kevin blushed and looked down at his feet. “Davy, I have to go get my snack, I didn’t bring it close by,” Kevin said hesitantly. Davy got a worried thought, what if Kevin was going to go off and steal something. “If you didn’t bring a snack Kevin, don’t worry. My mommy knows I like to share with my friends; she likes to see that I can share, even when its chocolate.”  

Kevin still seemed to be hesitating, so Davy took his hand and pulled him slowly towards his mommy. “Mommy, mommy,” Davy began to yell the top of his voice as he walked with Kevin over to the tree. Claire looked up and saw two little grimy boys covered in sweat. One had a big smile on his face and was her Davy. One looked very anxious and she trembled a little. Claire recognized the look in Kevin’s eye. Claire saw the look she used to have on her face. It was the look of a child who didn’t trust adults.  


Despite the strong pull from Davy’s arm, Kevin was hanging back from Claire. Davy was ignoring his counter pressure to stop. With a final rank that almost made Kevin fall, Davy said, “This is my friend Kevin mommy.”  Davy plopped down and pulled Kevin with him. “Can we have snacks mommy we are so hungry.” 

I’m a stranger. Kevin shouldn’t really take any food from me. What should I do? 

Claire didn’t know what to do. She would never want Davy to take food from a stranger. She knew she was a safe person, but she didn’t want to encourage someone else’s child to do something that could be dangerous. She opened her bag and kept herself busy moving things around while she tried to think. When she finally looked up, she tried to catch Kevin’s eyes and said, began taking out the snack she brought to give herself more time to think. When she looked up she said, “boys I have plenty of snacks for two. But maybe Kevin should ask his mommy’s permission to take a snack from me?” 

At the words that he should ask his mother, Kevin began to back away. “Where are you going Kevin?” Davy asked anxiously. “I’ll be back in a moment,” Kevin said, “my mom doesn’t like to sit close to where I play because she says I’m very noisy. I’ll go ask about the snack and be right back.” 

Claire knew she should meet Kevin’s mother face-to-face, but he was gone in an instant. He ran out of sight and then came right back. Claire knew in her heart that he hadn’t been gone long enough to have talked to his mother, but he had this haunted look on his face. He also looked anxiously at the food she had put out on the grass. He looked hungry. 

“What did your mommy say,” Davy asked. “She says it’s fine because we’re not going to have lunch today so I can have as much snack as I want if iis okay with your mommy.” Davy looked at Kevin, puzzled, and said, how can you not be having lunch today? My stomach wants lunch every day.” “Oh, we’re just going to be very busy today with errands. I’ll have lunch tomorrow,” Kevin said. In her heart, Claire knew that Kevin was making the whole thing up. She didn’t know why he was so hungry, but she was going to feed him.  She gave him a plate full of small little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and an apple.” Davy compared his plate to Kevin’s. “How come you gave him more sandwiches than me?” Davy said jealously. “We don’t have a lot of errands Davy,” Claire said, “we will be having lunch and you know how Mrs. Carson would feel if you didn’t have any appetite for her lunch.” 

“You are so right mommy,” Davy said as he ate his apple first. Kevin seemed to inhale his food. It was gone so quickly it was almost as if he was afraid the food would be taken away from him. Claire was guessing, but as she looked at how thin he looked, his overly large clothes, and the way he had been behaving and began to fear he was a neglected child. If his mom was at the park, he was too little to be out of her sight. And, the “if” she was at the park was a big question.  

Are there warning signs that Kevin could be abused or neglected? He might just be making up the “no lunch today” comment. His mom might have told him not to take food from strangers, but he wasn’t listening. His clothes might be hand me downs from his big brother…. 

Could Claire know for sure? 

Does she have to know for sure to do something about it? 

No, as a resident of Pennsylvania, Claire doesn’t have to have more information about what is happening to Kevin at home than what she already knows. It is up to Claire, as a concerned adult, to just report these concerns. It will then be the job of professionals to find out if Kevin is okay or not and what if any services, they should provide to him and his family. Every state has their own specific rules for how to report concerns about abuse. To read about how this is done in PA, go to: 

The following is a quote taken directly from this website: 

“How ChildLine Protects Children 

ChildLine is part of a mandated statewide child protective services program designed to accept child abuse referrals and general child well-being concerns, and transmit the information quickly to the appropriate investigating agency.  ChildLine is responsible for receiving verbal and electronic referrals 24 hours a day, seven days a week.   

The toll-free hotline, 1-800-932-0313, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive reports of suspected child abuse.” 


11/29/2019 Part 121 – Claire’s Story: Craig finds out where Claire lives.

By    K. Hecht, A. Hosack & P. Berman

Everything’s going the way I’d hoped. I’ll wait till next week and then ask her out.

Craig was thinking about Claire every day. He imagined he saw the back of her hair swinging whenever he was in a crowd. He couldn’t stop himself from rushing up to see if the woman was Claire despite knowing how unlikely that was. Sometimes he would remember the look on her face when he had gotten angry with her. She had pulled away so quickly! She must have come from a very protected environment to pull away like that just because he had become angry.

Thinking of Claire as fragile just deepened Craig’s interest in her. Today, he had gotten off work an hour early. He traveled on the bus and got off at what he knew to be Claire’s home stop. He looked around and found a place where he thought he could observe the bus but not be seen himself. He read a newspaper as he patiently waited for Claire to get off the bus.

It seemed like no time before he was watching her as she slowly walked down the steps of the bus. She looked discouraged. He hoped it was because she had missed seeing him. As soon as she was about a block away, he came out of his hiding place and slowly followed her. In a few moments, he had to stop and hold his breath. Claire was walking down a path to the front of a house. He watched her as she unlocked the door and went inside.

Craig turned around and went back to the bus stop very pleased with himself. He knew where she lived! He knew where she lived and now could find her anytime!

Claire had been very disappointed that she hadn’t seen Craig on the bus. He probably had no real interest in her after all. He probably had just talked to her to pass the time before he got off the bus himself. What should she expect? Why would such a handsome man be interested in her? Before she could get herself into too deep a funk, her little ball of dynamite hurled himself at her legs and gave her such a tight hug that she almost fell over.

“Welcome home my mommy,” Davy said with a smile. “I love you so much my Davy,” Claire said as she leaned over and kissed him on the top of the head. “Come in the kitchen mommy, I was given a star today in school.” Davy gave her his kindergarten grade report and there on the top was a gold star. The teacher wrote underneath it, that Davy had earned a star for being voted the boy in class most likely to share with others. Claire grabbed Davy and swung him around and around till he was laughing and gasping for air. “I am so proud of you Davy, you are being a good friend to everybody in your class by sharing so well,” Claire said. “Yes, and I’m not going to try to teach them to steal either mommy,” Davy said. Mrs. Carson chocked as she tried not to laugh.


Davy gave Mrs. Carson a confused look but then, Claire was giving him a big hug and all he wanted to do was clutch her and smile.  “You are a good friend Davy, you are showing other kids how to share not how to steal,” Claire said.

Have you struggled trying to explain to a young child the difference between telling the truth and telling a lie? Consider buying a book that helps you read to your child while the story opens up the subject. To see an example consider watching the video below:

11/27/2019 Part 120 Claire’s Story: What is the difference between a good and a bad friend?

By     P. Berman, K. Hecht & A. Hosack

What are they talking about? Will they tell me?

Davy came bouncing into the room. He had heard the tail end of his mommy’s conversation with Mrs. Carson and he was very curious. He could tell by their tone of voice that they were having a serious grown-up conversation; he wanted to know what it was all about.  “Mommy, what are you and Mrs. Carson talking about?” Davy asked giving her a big smile.

Claire wasn’t fooled by the smile. She could tell by the look on his face the Davy was just curious, and he didn’t need to know what they were talking about. It wasn’t a little kid’s topic. Or was it?  After a moment reflection, Claire changed her mind- it was a kid’s topic.  “Davy we were talking about something very important, it was how to tell the difference between a good and a bad friend,” Claire said. “If I kid is a friend of mine, then he’s got to be good!” said Davy. “You could be right, but not always. What if you met another boy at the park and he shared his snack with you? (Davy is nodding yes). I see you think he’s a great friend, but I don’t know.  It was a great snack – it was a candy bar and chocolate milk. But is a great snack the same thing as a great friend?” Claire asked.

“Of course, it is mommy. He shared delicious stuff with me that he could have just eaten by himself,” Davy said. “He did share delicious stuff with you. Sharing is a sign of being a good friend. But what if when you were done, he told you that he was still hungry, but you didn’t have any food to share with him? Would that make you a bad friend?” “No mommy no. I would have shared something with him, but I didn’t have anything to share.” “That’s right Davy, you wouldn’t be a bad friend just because you didn’t share food with him. I never send you to the park with food.”

“What if your friend said, you didn’t need to bring food to the park. His mommy hadn’t given him any food to take either,” Claire said. “This story doesn’t make sense mommy how could he be giving me a candy bar and chocolate milk if he didn’t bring any food with them to the park,” Davy said. “What if he told you that he could show you how to have food at the park whenever you wanted it. Would that make him a good friend?” His mother asked.

“He must be a magician mommy if he can have food whenever he wants it even when his mommy or his Mrs. Carson doesn’t give it to him,” Davy said. Mrs. Carson smiled broadly but Claire still had a serious look on her face. “What if your friend said follow me and I’ll teach you how to get food whenever you want it. He then brings you to a small store that’s right at the corner of the park. The store is very busy with lots of grown-ups rushing in and out buying things. There’s only one man at the store checking people out and taking their money in exchange for the things they’re buying,” Claire said, “Mrs. Carson are you getting curious how this friend gets food?” “Maybe his family doesn’t give him food to take to the park,” Mrs. Carson said, “but they give him money to spend at the store.”

“What do you think Davy, if his family gave him money to spend at the store and he bought snacks and then shared them with you, does this sound like he’s a good friend?” Claire asked. “Yes, yes mommy, he actually spends his valuable money on something that he shares with me,” Davy said. “He is sharing again isn’t he Mrs. Carson?” “That is one sign of being a good friend that you will share something valuable with that person whether it is food, or money, or toy,” Mrs. Carson agreed.

“Unfortunately, this new friend doesn’t have any money in his pocket. He turns to you and says, I always come to the park now because it’s really busy at the store now and the man doesn’t notice when small people like us sneak in and out to get treats,” Claire says, bringing the story to an end.


Davy was looking down in confusion. “That’s a sad end to this story Claire,” Mrs. Carson said. “This child doesn’t understand that stealing from the store is wrong. He is now trying to get Davy to steal. This is what makes him a bad friend. He’s trying to do something nice, but he’s involving Davy in something bad.”

“Why would he do such a bad thing mommy?” Davy asked. “No one learns right and wrong all by themselves my Davy. They need help the kind of help that me and the Carsons’ have given you,”  Claire concluded. “Maybe he could become a good friend if he was given help learning about right and wrong mommy,” Davy asked sadly.

“You are so right Davy. He could learn about right and wrong and stop stealing. However, it wouldn’t happen fast, it would take time,” Claire said.

Did you ever lie when you were a child?

Did you ever steal anything when you were a child?

If your answer was yes, then you’re part of the great majority. Almost everyone has stolen and lied at some point.  It is often not whether a child has ever done this that is the issue, it’s the intent. If the child at the park is hungry all the time because his parents are not providing him with enough food, while he shouldn’t steal, the fact that he is stealing because he is hungry provides a different context for understanding his behavior than if he steals for the thrill of it.

When do children learn the difference between the truth and a lie?

An important study on truth telling found that children’s understanding of morale reasoning matched their actions (Fen XuXuehua BaoGenyue FuVictoria Talwar, & Kang Lee, 2011). This article also summarized how adults “teach” children to lie in certain circumstances. To read the article go to:

What social advocacy steps could you take to help others understand children’s ability to understand right and wrong?

Do you think you could explain to the school board why they should take an educational approach, rather than a punitive one to a child lying?


11/25/2019 Part 119 The Story of Claire: How do you know which feelings to trust?

By     A. Hosack, P. Berman & K. Hecht

I don’t know what to make of Craig. He got angry so quickly, that scares me.

Claire was walking slowly back to the house. She was filled with a mixture of happy and distress. If she focused her mind on Craig as he came to sit next to her, showing an interest in being with her, then she felt happy. When she thought about the look in his eyes when she’d asked him about his bank, she felt scared. Once Claire walked into the house, she was met with the news the Davy had exhausted himself and was actually taking a nap!

This is a sign. I have to speak up.

“Mrs. Carson, do you have a moment to talk with me about Craig. (1-minute pause) He was that man I met on the bus.” “Yes, I remember that you’d met someone. Have you been able to learn any more about him?” Mrs. Carson asked. “I guess I have learned more about him. What makes me smile is that he came to sit next to me today and he told me a funny story about his dog named buddy,” Claire said seriously.

“You don’t look like the story was funny, “Mrs. Carson said. “Well that’s the part of the story that makes me uncomfortable. (Claire looks off into the distance, Mrs. Carson sighs and prepares herself to stay calm). After a few moments, Claire looked at Mrs. Carson and said, “most of my conversation with Craig was very pleasant. But there was one moment when I ask him what bank he worked at and he got very angry. I can’t forget that look in his eyes. (1-minute pause) Mr. Carson never looks that angry, even when he is about to punish Davy for doing something seriously wrong.”

“What does it mean to you Claire,” Mrs. Carson said softly. Claire’s hands were trembling, but her voice was clear as she said, “I don’t want to date anyone who gets as angry as Larry did.” “But on the other hand, I barely know Craig, and he had a good explanation for why he got so angry.  That’s why I don’t know what to think,” Claire said softly. “Did he hit you Claire or look like he was about to hit you?” Mrs. Carson asked, her worried look leaking out her feelings. “No, he didn’t do anything even close to hitting me which is what makes me feel bad that I’m prejudging him,” Claire said softly, “he apologized to me which is something Larry never did, and I thought that was a good sign.” Mrs. Carson was terribly relieved.

“I do think it’s a good sign that he apologized after being unjust to you. But I also think you shouldn’t ignore it if you’re gut tells you that he might have problems controlling his anger,” Mrs. Carson said. “I keep going back and forth in my head trying to analyze every little moment I had with him but, it’s just too hard. I was really only with them for about 10 minutes,” Claire said.

“You don’t really have to make a decision right away Claire. It’s easier to understand someone’s character if you take things step-by-step and don’t rush into any serious decisions. Have you thought at all about what kind of man you’d want to spend time with you, and you wouldn’t be scared to introduce to Davy?” Mrs. Carson said.

She always knows the right thing to say. I hope someday I can help Davy like she helps me.

“I would like somebody who’s good with children, like Mr. Carson is. I want Davy to meet a lot of good men who can control their tempers and make good decisions. I want him to turn out like Mr. Carson. Someone who is respected by everybody they know,” Claire said softly. “Well, you wouldn’t want to introduce Craig to Davy until you have more evidence that he’s a good man. But, if he should ask you out on a date, you could always express a preference for walking with his dog in the park. Then you could see the relationship he has with the dog. Is the dog affectionate, does he take good care of it? That would give you more information about his character than his just liking his dog,” Mrs. Carson suggested.

“We might pass children in the park and then I could see how he reacted to them to!” Claire said. “That would be just right wouldn’t it,” Mrs. Carson said, “you can often learn a lot about people by watching how they treat others around them.  Even if there don’t happen to be children around, how does he react to an old person like me who might stumble near him? Does he show any other sign of caring about the welfare of others,” said Mrs. Carson.


Does this sound like good advice to you?

Have you wondered how to tell what you might need, despite mutual attraction, to have a good relationship?

Dr. Suzanne Degges-White has written an article called 13 First Date Red Flags. She suggested that both Claire and Craig should be listening to their “guts” when they were together to see if they shared a mutual attraction. If interested in learning her signs that you should move away or move toward a potential date go to:

11/22/2019 Part 118 The Story of Claire: Craig gets on the bus but hesitates before sitting next to Claire

By     K. Hecht, A. Hosack, & P. Berman


I wonder if my plan worked? I’ll find out today.

Since the first day he saw Claire on the bus, Craig had begun planning out each step of his campaign to win her as a romantic partner. His first step had been to watch her on the bus before approaching her.  His second step had been to find out where she worked and intentionally “not meet” her on the bus. Today would be the day when he’d find out if his plan for increasing her interest in him had worked; would she show signs of having missed him yesterday? In this next part of his plan, he’d walked to one bus stop passed hers. He would get on the bus, knowing she was already on it, and see what happened when they met again.

Claire was lost in chaotic, and unpleasant thoughts. She had had a particularly difficult day and she would have missed getting on the bus, if one of the other women who were “regulars” at the stop hadn’t nudged her when the bus stopped. “Thank you,” Claire said, as the woman nodded to her and climbed the steps into the bus. This act of kindness re-awoke Claire’s optimism. She would not give up hope of meeting Craig again. She found an empty seat, put her purse out, and then began staring out the window.

This was a bold move for Claire. Larry had found her. In a very different way, Craig had found her to. Claire didn’t know “how to flirt” to show a man that she found them attractive. But she did recognize the ones she wished were interested in her. She saw many men throughout her day.  They were of all sizes and weights – some skinny, some plump. They had white hair, black hair, brown and blonde. She had compared each one to Craig and found them wanting.

She knew that Mr. Carson wasn’t the most handsome man she’d ever seen. This made her know, on some level, that she shouldn’t be judging men based on their physical appearance. But somehow, Craig’s face always came back to her – the handsomest man she had seen in a long time. Claire wasn’t sure what the right thing would be to say to Craig, if she saw him again. But, she did know she was very attracted to him.

Craig intentionally made a lot of noise as he got on the bus. He made a joke to the bus driver and looked around and saw Claire look up. She smiled at him. Had his plan had worked? He walked towards her but then hesitated as if he would take a seat in an earlier row than hers. As he hesitated, he looked towards her again and she looked anxious. Good. His plan had worked. He came over and sat next to her and she smiled.

“I wondered if we would run into each other again,” Craig said. Claire had been practicing an opening so she wouldn’t get tongue tied. “I remembered you told me you were a banker. Which one do you work at?” Claire asked.  Craig took a moment to think, he forgot he told her he worked at a bank. If he told her the branch he was at, she might be able to find out where his real bus stop was. Claire noticed the hesitation and it made her uneasy. Mrs. Carson had told her to look for any signs that he might be lying, and this hesitation might be one of those.

“I don’t get it why your first question to me would be about my job? Are you only interested in men who make a lot of money?” Craig asked looking stern. Claire had thought asking about Craig’s job would be a good question, but it was a mistake. He had misunderstood her reason for asking about his work. That’s why he hesitated. Claire sighed and sank into the chair. She looked sad. This was a good sign. His ploy of ignoring her yesterday had worked. But now she was looking out the window- he had overdone it. “I’m sorry Claire, I don’t know why I got so mad about a simple question. (1-minute silence) It’s just that a lot of women I’ve dated seemed to care more about how much I earned than the type of person I was.”

He’s concerned about how I’m judging him. He thinks character is more important than money.

She turned back to him and smiled. “I’m sorry too Craig. I’m not good at starting conversations and I thought this was an easy way to get to know you better.” Craig smiled inside but he kept his face neutral, “I get that. You want to know more about me. (1-minute silence where he smiled at her) Well, I guess I can help you with that. I am a guy who really loves dog. (Claire smiled) I have this large dog I named Bull because he is so stubborn.”


Craig opened up his phone and showed Claire a picture of Bull. “He isn’t what I expected,” Claire said, “He looks so friendly!” “Oh, he is friendly,” Craig said with a sigh. But I live in an apartment and he is very stubborn about going out to take a walk and …you know. There are times I have almost begged him in the rain to hurry up so we can both come into the building and dry off.

Claire laughed and continued to look at Bull. Craig seemed very open in sharing about his life. He had a dog. A dog that looked well cared for. This must be a sign he is a good person. “Oh, this is your bus stop isn’t it,” Craig said and then sighed. Claire looked up and realized he was right. He was helping her too. Another good sign.

Claire got off the bus and as she stepped off, he called out, “see you tomorrow!”

Claire smiled and waved as she watched the bus move on. She felt so relieved because Craig loved dogs – they had something important in common.

Does she really know anything about Craig’s character from his pet choice?

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimated that 38.4% of all pet owners picked a pet dog, while only .7% chose horses. Does this difference have anything to do with differences in character of the pet owner or do you think it might be more a  difference in the cost of owning a dog or horse? What about the difference between the amount of ground you need to provide a dog or horse for its daily needs?

Wouldn’t how well Craig cared for his dog be a better indicator of his character?