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We have developed a set of three books to give children a simple framework for understanding the choices they can make to optimize their well being, self-fulfillment and contribution to society at the most fundamental level.
Baby Rowan enjoying Grumps & Sweeties.
The first of these is called “Grumps & Sweeties”. We have found that children as young as 4 years old understand and appreciate it. It is the story of a small boy named John who notices that exactly the same action on his part will cause one person to be mean to him and another kind. He learns that this is because the one person has acquired habits of meanness and the other habits of kindness, not as the result of conscious choice but merely as a result of what behavior they had copied during their lives.
John then observes that those who are good natured do better in life when faced with serious problems. Others are sympathetic with them and helpful.
Having learned these lessons John then changes the life of his grumpy neighbor (Mr. Withers) by having his parents take him to the hospital to visit him when he is ill and by persuading his family and a kind neighbor, Mr. Patel, to help Mr. Withers when he returns home.
By his actions John teaches Mr. Withers to be kind and both Mr. Withers’ life and his are made better as a result.
We describe “The Book for Very Special Days” as being the “Grumps & Sweeties Companion”. It is intended for children from the age of five up. “The Book for Very Special Days” is set up as a gift to be given to a child on a special day and has a personal message from the giver to the child in which they affirm their love for the child and tell them of their wish that they should “have a happy life surrounded by people who love and admire [them]” the way the giver does.
The book then teaches ten habits that can help make that wish come true. These are:
- Always say good things
- Be respectful of all people
- Be helpful
- Admit your mistakes
- Be forgiving
- Express your feelings of love
- Be patient
- Always have hope
- Feel your greatness
Both Grumps & Sweeties and The Book for Very Special Days are illustrated with child friendly pictures, some of which you may preview by following the links on this website to our publisher Lulu.com.
Our final book, “The Happy Camper’s Field Guide” is illustrated with photographs taken during Sutherland Family & Friends camping trips. Happy Campers is targeted more to children from the age of 10 to 13. It sets out to explain the nature of modern human living, what we want from life and how to attain it. Briefly stated, it describes how we live in a world in which each of us trades to obtain the things we need; as well, we live in a community with other people and we live in our own bodies, thoughts and emotions.
From this it flows that what we want in life is to find the means to make the trades that will give us the things we need; good relations with the people we see day by day; and peace of mind.
Happy Campers teaches, once again, ten habits as the means to obtain these. They are:
- Define your goals
- Take time to think & plan how to make your goals a reality
- Be productive
- Be a seeker of knowledge
- Do things for the benefit & enjoyment of others
- Be honest & responsible
- Be compassionate
- Look for the good
- Be cheerful!
- Live a balanced & healthy life
While these books are understood by children in the age frames we have given, we have been told time and again that the lessons taught are not just for children but that they are lessons people of all ages will benefit from.
Ian & Toby Sutherland