A Little Extra

By Marianne Larned Starbucks
From The Leader's Guide to Stone Soup for the World, Stone Soup Foundation, 1998, p. 37

Like many Americans, 27-year-old Chris Gross was appalled by the Oklahoma City bombing. He was especially troubled by the children who lost their parents. "I always thought that if most parents had a dying wish for their children, they would say, 'Go to college, make something of yourselves," says Chris. He decided to start a scholarship fund for them, starting by donating his own salary for a year and inviting others to pitch in. Thanks to Chris' generosity and determination, the fund now has over $4 million -- enough for all 207 to go any college they choose.

Reflection Questions
1. Did you see the Oklahoma City bombing on TV? How did it make you feel?

2. Have you or any of your friends ever lost a parent? How would it affect your life? Could you still afford to buy all the things you're used to having?

3. Have you ever been very generous to people you don't even know?

4. The next time you hear of a tragedy, think about the children. What can you do?

Values and Qualities

  • Thoughtfulness
  • Generosity
  • Organizational skills
  • Compassion
  • Commitment

Lessons You Can Learn
1. When you see a need, try to do something about it -- even if you don't know how.

2. When you take the first step, and invite someone to help you help others, they often will.

3. People with good jobs can share their success and even make sacrifices to help others.

4. Giving someone a good education is a gift that will last for a lifetime.

Language Arts

  • Suppose you were one of the children who lived through this tragedy. Write in a journal each day for a week imagining your thoughts, fears, feelings, hopes and dreams.
  • Invite a Rabbi to speak about the Jewish tradition of tsdaka (giving to others).
  • Write a report about the traditions of giving as it is practiced in various cultures. Make colorful cards with words, phrases and images from each. Put them up in the classroom.

Social Studies

  • Read about the people, especially the children, who survived the Oklahoma City bombing. How are they doing now? What has it taken for them to rebuild their lives? Write a report.
  • Study Timothy McVeigh's life. What caused him to do such a hateful thing? How do you think we can prevent others from doing such things?

Community Service

  • Find and share with the class daily news reports about local families who've had hard times. Brainstorm ways to help them. Develop a class fund. Choose a family each week to send cards, gifts, donations or develop a class project to help them.
  • Adopt a family for the holidays: buy them gifts, make a delicious meal, invite to events.
  • Create a scholarship fund for young people who have lost their parents in a tragedy. Raise money with a school dance, a silent auction, a children's carnival, sponsors from a Walk-a-thon or Read-a-thon. Collect slightly used books and create a book fair.
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