The other day I came home from a week away, having done events all over the country.
Walking in the house, no one got up from their phones, casually, barely acknowledging my return, as I tiptoed confused into my humble abode, surprised by such a glib reaction from my children.
I asked if anyone had seen our dog, Goldie, and no one could actually recall the last time they’d either heard from her or even held her…and they went back to looking at their phones.
I wandered the house in search of my little dog.
She was nowhere to be found.
Finally, in the basement, I could hear a faint breathing behind the couch in a dark corner.
Horrified, I found Goldie, our sweet dog, her eyes crusted over, her back covered in sores, her hair matted and greasy.
Gently picking her up off the floor, I held her frail body and put her close to my face. Her nose was dry, and I kissed her to see if she would realize it was me.
Her left eye barely opened, as she licked my nose to kiss me back, and a small tear fell from her eye.
Suddenly she breathed out a sigh and…tragically, passed away in my arms.
Collapsing, I sobbed on the floor as I held our precious dog, and the next thing I knew, I woke up, crying in my hotel bed.
Shocked by the vivid detail of the dream, I returned home later that day and told this story to my children. They cried. I cried. It was not the kind of thing you want to tell your kids.
I asked them why I would have this dream?
They each confessed that, as of late, none of them had fought over having Goldie sleep in their rooms with them and she had slept alone on the couch downstairs. They hadn’t taken her outside, played with her, or even really noticed her.
I asked if they felt Goldie might miss having her siblings want her near them, and they each said of course, that they really love her. I also committed to being more attentive to our little dog.
Over the past few days since my dream, Goldie has been fawned over, cared for, played with, snuggled, talked with, and had a child’s bed to sleep in. They fight over her again.
I feel bad sharing this sad dream story with you, my reader, but it showed me the power of a well placed story to change behavior for the better.
I didn’t know it would actually be that effective, as I just shared a sad dream with my kids, but it truly changed our whole family due to the harshness of the crafting of the story, and the thought of losing our dog.
In some cases, sharing a nightmare with children would be advised against, but I felt there was a reason this dream should be retold and it has improved our home and Goldie’s life immediately.
The Promise to Communicate with those we love, where a story, parable, or analogy may give us more reason to love, care, give, or show respect, service, and tolerance, is of the utmost importance. The recognition of time, the clock running out, and what we can’t get back, may often be the greatest motivator to manufacture improved behavior in any life.
I could have told the kids to get off their phones and play with the dog, or demand they care for her like they used to, and make sure she is in their rooms at night.
That probably would have only made them not want to do anything even more.
Or I could tell them a really sad story and horribly tragic detailed dream.
Somehow the story stuck, and now things are better.
What story do you need to tell, or dream relayed, in order to inspire those you love to love even more?
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Promise Legacy Project Coach
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to Create Legendary Leadership through the Power of Commitment
- Author of “The Promise To The One”