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by Susan Kramer
The twins spent this Saturday helping set up for the annual school fair. The proceeds from sales were going to fund more learning resources for the school library – both paper and computer. Fortunately, it was a sunny morning so the tables and stands would not have to be set up in the covered hallways surrounding the playground along the canal.
Now that the outdoor location was assured, Hans gathered several other students to help unfold and set up tables. First they went into the cafeteria and loaded folding lunch tables onto a rolling cart to be wheeled outside. At first, the kids were listening to each other's suggestions on how to line up tables on the playground. But after a few minutes of heavy lifting they started running out of patience with each other. They argued about how people would best be able to walk around the tables, and where they could leave open the main path to keep visitors moving smoothly around the circumference.
Even though Hans had been put in charge, he started to lose patience with one bossy student who wanted only his pattern for setting up the tables to be implemented. Hans tolerated the other boy's choices, because he realized from his past experiences that there is usually more than one way to work out logistical problems, or any situations for that matter, and not be too attached to his own opinion.
By being tolerant of the boy's choices, though different from his own ideas, Hans and the other students got the tables set up quickly. Hans thought that if the table placements didn't seem to be working when visitors arrived, they could be rearranged.
Anneke could see out of the corner of her eye that Hans and the others were setting the large tables in position. Meanwhile, she and Ma were busy with their smaller tables, which they easily carried out from classrooms. They had baked and brought ginger bread cookies, decorated sugar cookies, individual brownies, and caramel popcorn balls – each serving in their own baggie with twist tie. Others would be making donations of their favorite baked goods and candies.
Anneke had her weekly allowance in her pocket to spend on treats, and hoped that someone would bring her favorite homemade chocolate covered peanuts.
After setting up their tables they laid out colorful cloths, and as donations arrived Anneke arranged items as she thought most attractive. Another donor came over to see how they were coming, and made a suggestion to switch a plate of brownies with sugar cookies to make them more visible.
Anneke did not like changing the positions of desserts, but she tolerated the move without complaining, because it seemed to make the woman happy, and it really would not make a difference in sales. And, by tolerating the changes without complaint, they saved time during the setup, and were able to move on to getting drinks ready sooner.
Soon the playground was looking festive, and children and adults began pouring in and milling about. Sales went smoothly all around, and some new books and computer programs could be bought for the school library. So, in the end, working together and tolerating other opinions while setting up, got the day off to a smooth start with productive results.
By the way, Anneke got her wish for chocolate covered peanuts fulfilled. Allowance well spent.
Key words: tolerance; cooperation.
children in this story live in my mind and heart.
The author, Susan Helene Kramer, has been teaching people of all ages and abilities meditation, yoga, and dance for more than 30 years.
and Hans went to school
Anneke and Hans Help at the Fair copyright © 2018
Susan Helene Kramer
Home Page http://www.susankramer.com
Dutch translation of other stories in the series