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Carrot Top and Big Red
A story for Children and Youths about the qualities
in us that really matter!

Carrot Top and Big Red

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When a young boy, who has always been raised to believe he is special and very good receives some teasing at school over his red hair, it is an opportunity for learning some tough lessons about the nature of the world.

Through learning to trust wisdom from his mother and father, and embracing his own fortitude, our young protagonist, Eddie, comes to truly understand the words of his beloved grandmother, who always said, 'The Lord works in mysterious ways!" In the past, he hadn't really understood what she meant when she said this (and she said it quite often!) But now, when he thinks about his trouble with the boys at school who call him "Carrot-Top," and how a special Show and Tell and a beloved, big red dog have helped him to make friends, he thinks maybe he understands just a little of what his grandmother meant.

Written and Illustrated by
Michael D. Purvis

 
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Excerpt from Book:


Illustration by Michael D. Purvis

Introduction

Being "different" isn't so easy for any of us, no matter what our age. 

All of us have dealt with teasing, or at least fear that we might be teased or criticized throughout our life. Oh how this fear stifles our creativity, and uproots our confidence!

This book is an attempt to show how love, wisdom, patience, and life lessons can help all of us to learn to deal with difficulties with others. It is hard to get along with others in the world sometimes, and this is a lesson we all learned early. But we must not let the words of others chip away at our self-confidence or self concept.

All of us should have such wise parents as Eddie, the little red-haired protagonist of our story. This book is full of wisdom for little kids and even we "big kids." 

If the reader of this story is a child, the wisdom presented may be new and hopefully quite helpful. If you are an adult reading the story (for yourself, to peruse it before giving it to your child to read, or perhaps as a bedtime story for your child) then you will be amazed how the lessons in it are still valuable for you, too. For how many of us at times feel like we are at the mercy of bullies, or difficult mean children at the office? 
Sometimes, our workplace or any number of places we adults inhabit, can seem like a big playground, replete with taunts and insults which bring us right back to that place of hurt feelings which we may have experienced as a child. It's amazing how those hurt feelings and the sense of incredulity at the cruelty of the other kids' meanness is still there at age thirty, forty, fifty or even beyond.

In some ways we never grow up, do we?!? 

All of us, no matter our age, are still learning about what it means to be human and to get along with our fellow humans!

I wish you all the love and concord and harmony and affirmation in the great big playground which is your life, and in your experience here in our big school and playground: planet earth.

Blessings to you on your life's journey!

The author


Illustration by Michael D. Purvis

From the Book

Everything seemed to be going well. Little Eddie had not given another thought to the fact that he was the only child in the class with red hair, until one day, one of the students in the class began calling him a name on the playground. "Hey Carrot Top!" he shouted to Eddie that day.

Soon, some of the other boys were calling Eddie this too. It made him feel not so much special now, as different.

It was not a good feeling.

The way that this boy and the other boys said this made Eddie feel, somehow, that having bright orange hair was not such a good thing!

At first, Eddie did not say anything about this new development at school to his mother and father. But one day, the name calling really got to be too much for him, and he came home in tears.

His mother asked him, "What's wrong, Eddie?" showing in her voice great concern for her son. And Eddie, in great sobs, told his mother about the name the children were taunting him with.

Well, enduring name-calling is never easy for anyone, whether they are a child or an adult. Eddie's mother and father were sad that such a thing should be happening to their son. It brought back memories of their own, when they had experienced unkindness, or seen others experience it.

"Its very sad that children, and even grown people act in such a way sometimes. You just must know son, that no matter what anyone says, you are special, in a good way. There is no one like you, and this is good! You are special indeed, and your orange hair is a part of you."

"Yes," she continued, "you look different than others. No one is the same as another person. We are like snowflakes; each and every one of us is different from each other, because that is how God made us. And each of us is loved by God, and very good!"

"Then why do they call me Carrot Top?" asked Eddie. "I don't think the other kids think it is so good that I look different!" he exclaimed.

"Hmmm, well let me see if I can explain this a little differently," said Eddie's mother. 

She paused for a moment, thought, and then said, "Now here is a new word for you. This word is: 'unique.' Each of us is unique!"

"Unique?" asked Eddie.

"Yes," said his mother. We are all unique. It's just like the snowflakes I mentioned.

"Each of us looks different," his mother continued, "has different gifts, lives a different life, in a different house, with a different family. We don't have to all look the same. The world would be truly boring if we all looked the same."

"Well, I guess you are right, Mom," said little Eddie.

His mother had more to say on this subject: "Sometimes people don't understand this, you see. They don't always understand that being different is not bad, its good! No matter what anyone says, this is so! There is no one like Mommy, no one like daddy, and no one like Eddie!"

"Really?" queried Eddie. "So why do people call others names then?" he asked.

"Well," said his mother, "that's a tough question, but I do know that sometimes way down deep inside, sometimes people are afraid that others will notice that they are different too, and they aren't quite sure that this will be ok with others. Maybe they don't have a mommy who can talk with them the way the two of us can talk together about things like this." 

"And so," she continued, "they call names to distract others from noticing that they, too, are different. It isn't a very nice thing to do, but they just don't understand how unkind what they are doing really is."

"So having orange hair really is ok, and good too?" asked Eddie, needing a little reassurance.

"Red, hair, brown hair- these things make us unique," replied Eddie's mother. "But the most important thing which makes us unique is what's inside us.

"Inside us?" asked Eddie.

"Yes," his mother said. . This is the part of you that writes stories with Mommy, and paints on the special 'painting wall' in your bedroom. It's the part of you that is overjoyed when you are tossed into the air by Daddy. Yes, it's what's inside Mommy and Daddy and Eddie too that really makes us 'unique.'

"Sometimes, Eddie dear," his mother continued, "people don't understand that it's what's inside that's most important, and they may call us names, because we look different, or come from a different place, or live a little different life from what is usual. But those names cannot harm us. Not really." 

Now, Eddie's mother brought it all together:

Yes, name-calling can hurt our feelings. If someone calls us a name, or criticizes something about the outside of us, or makes fun of something in our lives which is a little unusual, just remember that these things are not really who we are. They are a part of us, a part of our bodies, or our lives, but the real us is what on the inside.

What we look like is good. Our lives, and our homes, those we share our lives with- these are all good things, no matter what others might say. But its what's inside that really counts! And words and names can't touch this, because God and love is in there inside us, loving and protecting us.


Illustration by Michael D. Purvis

2003, Michael D. Purvis

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