Monday, May 25, 2009

Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies

I remember a book that one of my teachers would read to us when we were in elementary school. It's a story that has stuck with me after all these years (well, not that many). It's the story of the Warm Fuzzies and Cold Pricklies. Here is the shortest version I could find online. At the bottom is a link to the original version.

"Once upon a time, there was a tiny village nestled between two mountains. Each person in the village was very happy because he was given a bag of Warm Fuzzies at birth. You could reach into your bag and pull out a Warm Fuzzy whenever you wanted, and everybody wanted to all the time. Warm Fuzzies were given to other people on the street, at home, everywhere. Warm Fuzzies made you feel just like they sound - warm, happy and contented. Everyone in the village was happy, everyone but the bad witch. Now we all know that bad witches are growly. They like us to be unhappy, sad. The bad witch in this village was no exception. She tried and tried to make the people stop giving away Warm Fuzzies. One day she whispered in the ear of little Johnny Brown, "If you keep giving away all of your Warm Fuzzies you won't have any left for yourself." Johnny didn't listen at first, because everyone always had lots of Warm Fuzzies. The more you gave away, the more you got.

Then the witch said to Johnny, "If you give COLD PRICKLIES you will be able to keep all of your Warm Fuzzies." Well, Johnny got to thinking about this, and noticed that his mother was always giving away Warm Fuzzies. So was his father, and his sister. Soon he thought they would have no more for him. So Johnny started saving his Warm Fuzzies and started giving COLD PRICKLIES. Soon the whole village was giving COLD PRICKLIES. Everyone was gloomy and sad and very grouchy. The village was no longer happy, and there wasn't a Warm Fuzzy to be found!

This had been going on for years and years, and the wicked witch was very happy. One day an old man came to visit the village. When he spoke to anyone they frowned at him and turned their backs, often walked away. The old man continued to be friendly, polite, pleasant, and one day a very young boy smiled back at the old man. It made him feel good - so good that he patted his dog, and the dog didn't bite him! This was the first Warm Fuzzy given in some time, and the little boy dug into his bag of Warm Fuzzies, as they were much nicer than the COLD PRICKLIES, and he started giving them away. The townspeople grumbled and growled for a while, but soon they felt like giving Warm Fuzzies. One by one people went home to find their Warm Fuzzies and soon everyone was again giving Warm Fuzzies. The bad witch was so upset and disgusted that she left the village and took her COLD PRICKLIES. After all, they didn't stand a chance against Warm Fuzzies.

To this day that village is happy and contented. Maybe, just maybe, if we give enough Warm Fuzzies our world can be as happy and pleasant as that village."

I think that everyone needs to be reminded of this story every once in a while. I hear many – myself included – make a reference to warm fuzzies. I never hear the term 'cold pricklies' but they are given every day. I give them to my kids, to my children, to friends and even strangers.

I gave one to someone at the Steven Curtis Chapman concert last weekend. I was sitting on the ground as the seats were all full and a guy stopped right in front of me. Instead of nicely saying, "Excuse me" I chose to rudely say, "Well, I could see." And I was at a Christian music concert! Right after I said it (twice) I felt horrible but was too embarrassed to say that I was sorry. I passed out two cold pricklies but held on to a warm fuzzy. I am not proud of myself.

Looking at the big picture, I know I’ve handed out many more warm fuzzies than cold pricklies. I've even given some to people who have given me cold pricklies. Sometimes my first instinct is to hand them a whole bag full of cold pricklies, but as I've grown I've learned to cool down before deciding which to hand out. Sometimes I'll still pass out a cold prickly, but more often I choose to give the person a warm fuzzy instead (this is sometimes known as "killing them with kindness"). I am a sensitive person and will admit that I have cried on more than one occasion after receiving a cold prickly even if it was from a stranger. They are hurtful, painful, and leave me with cold feelings, although, I've even give myself a cold prickly after handing one out (I gave myself a truckload last Saturday).

I wonder how we would act if we had to physically hand someone a warm fuzzy or cold prickly. Would you hand out as many? More? It's become so easy to be mean, nasty and/or negative with technology. Nasty emails are sent over the internet every day. You can get a divorce using software from Best Buy. People break up using a text message. What happened to facing the person you're ending a relationship with? Having the balls to tell someone off to their face? We even send warm fuzzies through technology. Hubby and I text each other often to say we're thinking of each other or just to say, "I love you." Sometimes it's when we're in the same house!

I encourage you to look back on today. Did you give anyone warm fuzzies or cold pricklies? Did you receive any yourself? If I'd have had to hand the man who stood in front of me a cold prickly before I made my comment, I know I wouldn't have said it. If I could go back and do it again I would hand him a warm fuzzy before nicely asking him to move.

I had a positive feeling as I was searching for how to make warm fuzzies and cold pricklies. There were several websites that showed how to make warm fuzzies but only one (that I could find with Google) on how to make a cold prickly (Styrofoam ball with toothpicks in case you were wondering).

How to make cold pricklies:

While flipping through different warm fuzzy websites, I found this statement which I think speaks for itself:

"To have a positive sense of oneself and to affirm the worth of others are both part of living peacefully. Children must develop understanding that peace flows from within to those around us. Each of us is unique and special. Celebrate and experience this beauty."

I think Google has developed ADD from me. I was trying to find a website with a craft for making cold pricklies. I center clicked on several of them and then was weeding my way through them when I stumbled on the education guide for a wonderful campaign called Turn Off The Violence. When you have time I encourage you to read it. There are lessons for all ages including the Warm Fuzzies story.

A Warm and Fuzzy Story: Claude M Steiner's

Shortened version from above.

How to make yarn fuzzies.

Send virtual warm fuzzies (not as affective in my opinion).

I guess it's a good thing that I couldn't find a craft on how to make Cold Pricklies. I do remember my teacher using a Styrofoam ball and toothpicks. I not support the practice of making Cold Pricklies.

Now go forth and give Warm Fuzzies!

cold prickly image
warm fuzzy image

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