Priscilla Stories

Abigail_teethOne day when Louisa was nearly 3 years old, I told her to shut the door and she answered, “In a minute!”. I wanted her to learn cheerful and prompt obedience. I tried to explain that to her, and I made sure she shut the door, but I wondered if she really understood that “in a minute” isn’t the right response. So, that night when I put her to bed, I made up a little story about a curly haired little girl named Priscilla who said, “in a minute” and what happened to her.

Stories are such an effective way to teach a child that I found myself inventing a story whenever a certain little one of mine was struggling with learning an important virtue or value. These quickly made-up stories became favorite bedtime stories and my children asked for them again and again. Children eagerly identify just what the story character should do, but they can’t see the flaw so easily in themselves. Stories can be a wonderful eye-opener. It always makes me smile to hear a child pensively mutter, “I do that, too.”

My little daughter Louisa could barely talk when I told her the first “Priscilla stories”. She is soon to be 12 years old and she still remembers them vividly! I made each story have two opposite endings: Priscilla could obey or disobey and the consequence always followed. We all like happy endings, but I think it helps little ones to learn to think through some bad endings too. I have to laugh as I think of it. Whenever I would tell Louisa a Priscilla story and I got near the ending, if she thought Priscilla was not going to choose the right, she would animatedly begin to chide her, “No, no Priscilla!” This was a lot better than me telling Louisa, “No, no” so often! These stories have been more effective than any other discipline method I have tried!

Obedience was always a recurring theme in the stories, as I strived to teach Louisa to obey me. Responsibility and unselfish service (“you go first”) were common themes too. Here’s one of Louisa’s favorite stories from when she was a little girl. Do you have a little one that might like to hear it?

PRISCILLA: An Obedience Story

One afternoon, Priscilla was playing with her doll in the living room when she smelled something very yummy! Priscilla walked into the kitchen and her mother was standing at the stove stirring a pan. Priscilla got up on a stool and looked into the pan. It had sweet things in it: honey, raisins, nuts and other good things.

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“What are you making?” asked Priscilla.
“I am making treats for the party!” her mommy said.
“Can I taste some?” asked Priscilla.
“No, it is way too hot. It would burn your mouth!” said her mother. “Don’t touch it, Priscilla. It will burn you!”

Just then the telephone rang and Priscilla’s mother went to answer it. “Get down, Priscilla”, she said as she left. She was talking on the phone in the other room. Priscilla looked into the pan and it looked so sweet and yummy. Then she put her finger out just like this to scoop a little bit of the treat onto her finger. When she put her finger in the pan, “Ou-ou-ou-ouch!”, she cried! The sticky stuff got on Priscilla’s finger and she couldn’t get it off. It was so hot! She stuck her finger in her mouth to cool it off and the sticky stuff got on her tongue and burned it too! Priscilla cried hard—it hurt her so bad! Priscilla’s mother came running into the kitchen. When she saw the sticky stuff on Priscilla’s finger, she frowned.
“Priscilla! I told you not to touch the treats! I told you that it would burn you!”

Her mommy picked her up quickly and put her finger under the running water in the kitchen sink. Her finger hurt and so did her tongue! Priscilla was so sorry that she didn’t obey her mommy. That night when it was time for the party, Priscilla’s finger was still hurting. And her mouth was burned so that it hurt to eat, so Priscilla didn’t get to eat any of the candy after all.

PRISCILLA Chooses the Right  

(Tell it again, this time with a happy ending. You little one will enjoy hearing it many times.)

One afternoon, Priscilla was playing with her doll in the living room when she smelled something very yummy! Priscilla walked into the kitchen and her mother was standing at the stove stirring a pan. Priscilla got up on a stool and looked into the pan. It had sweet things in it: honey, raisins, nuts and other good things.
“What are you making?” asked Priscilla.
“I am making treats for the party!” her mommy said.
“Can I taste some?” asked Priscilla.
“No, it is way too hot. It would burn your mouth!” said her mother. “Don’t touch it, Priscilla. It will burn you!”

Just then the telephone rang and Priscilla’s mother went to answer it. “Get down, Priscilla”, she said as she left. She was talking on the phone in the other room. Priscilla looked into the pan and it looked so sweet and yummy. Then she put her finger out just like this to scoop a little bit of the treat onto her finger. But the candy looked very hot in the pan, and she remember what her mother told her.  She got down off of the stool, and sat on it.  She sure did like candy!  Mother was talking a long time. Priscilla was thinking about the party when her mother came back in the kitchen.

“Good girl, Priscilla! I am so glad you obeyed me!” said her mommy. “Now let’s try some!”

Then Mommy got a spoon out of the drawer. She scooped some of the sticky stuff out of the pan and put it on a little plate. Then she put it in the fridge to cool off. When it was cool, she put the little plate on the table and let Priscilla have it for a treat! It was sweet and yummy! Priscilla was so glad that she obeyed Mommy!

Hoping your mommy-job is satisfying today!

 

May I recommend:

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Why Listen?


The 21 Rules of This House

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Extraordinary Manners

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