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THIS JOURNAL BELONGS TO ______________________________________________________

My JOURNAL BUDDY is __________________________________ We started this Journal on __________________________ (DATE)

What is the

Big Life Journal? The Big Life Journal is a special journal. It invites you to explore interesting and thought-provoking topics through stories, illustrations, poems, and engaging activities. The topics discuss qualities and attitudes that will help you live a fulfilled and exciting life. The topics are: Make a Difference in the World Dream Big Follow Your Heart You Are Not What You Have Believe in Yourself Take Action Be Persistent Effort is Key Love Learning Be Mindful Be Grateful Failure is Learning Be Positive The Journal is broken down into 26 weeks. You will spend two weeks covering one topic. Each section provides you with plenty of space to be creative!


What is a

Growth Mindset? This Journal will help you develop a growth mindset. It is a great thing to have because with a growth mindset you can achieve any goal. When you have a growth mindset, you believe that you can always improve. You can improve by putting forth effort and using the right strategies. You are in charge of how smart you are and what you can achieve. To help you remember this we included a fun colorful page at the end of this Journal. You can cut it out and keep it at your desk or some place you will see it often. Read it every day and very soon you will have a growth mindset.


A Special Note for the

Journal Buddy

A JOURNAL BUDDY is an exciting and important role. You act as a companion to the Journal owner on his/her journey of exploring important life topics. Each week you will share a story or an example from your life. This will help illustrate the topic at hand in a real life situation. It should also spark interesting and engaging conversations! We hope the time you spend together on this Journal will become a special time you will both cherish and look forward to each week.


How to use the

Big Life Journal 1

Find your JOURNAL BUDDY The first step is to find a JOURNAL BUDDY. Choose someone like a parent, grandparent, sibling, or anyone else who you want to share this Journal with each week.


Pick a time each week Find a time that works for you and your JOURNAL BUDDY. Perhaps Sunday night before you go to bed, or one evening right after dinner, you can sit down with your JOURNAL BUDDY and go through a section together. Remember to stay consistent and complete the Journal each week.


Enjoy and have fun This Journal is for you to explore your ideas and thoughts. It is also for you to have fun and enjoy the special time spent with your JOURNAL BUDDY. We are excited for you to begin your journey. Turn the page and begin with Week One! 7


Make a Difference in the World

The next two weeks are about making a difference in the world. There are many ways in which you can make a difference. For example, you can solve a problem, help someone in need, or make improvements upon an idea. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to tell you about someone they know of who is making a difference in the world. Now it’s your turn! Think of someone you know who is making a difference in the world. Who is it? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ How is this person making a difference? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________



Blake Mycoskie’s life was changed in a few seconds. He was on a trip to Argentina when he saw people giving free shoes to children. Blake was sad to see how many children had been going barefoot. They were too poor to buy shoes. Some of them had big cuts on their feet. He wondered what would happen when their new shoes didn’t fit anymore. Would they go barefoot again? When he got home, he couldn’t stop thinking about the children he’d seen. He wanted to do something to help them. Blake had other businesses, but he had never run a shoe company before. He called his new shoe company TOMS, which stood for TOMorrow’s Shoes. For every pair of shoes he sold, he would give one pair away. 11

His company sold a lot of shoes. On Blake’s first trip back to Argentina, he had 10,000 pairs of shoes to give away! Three boys took him to a field where they had been playing soccer. The field was filled with glass, and they had been playing barefoot. Blake was so happy to see the boys wearing their new TOMS shoes. Now their feet would be safe. It was one of the best moments of his life. TOMS has now given children around the world over 60 million pairs of shoes. That’s enough shoes for each child in Argentina to have six pairs!


In the story, Blake was able to help barefoot children around the world by giving them shoes. He made a big difference for them. Now you can also make a difference for someone by helping him/her. Think of somebody you can help. Who is it? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ What help does he/she need? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What would you do to help him/her? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! If you could be your favorite character from a book or movie, who would you be and why? I would be _____________________________________________ because _______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw this character below!



Make a Difference in the World

You can start making a positive difference in the world by doing kind or helpful things at home. Think of someone in your family. Who is it? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ Think of one kind or helpful thing you can do for him/her this week. Describe what you can do. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank 17

What do you think it means to improve the world? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What would you do to improve the world? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


You're Never Too Little by Andrea Fox

You’re never too little You’re already great You’re smart and you’re helpful You don’t have to wait You have great ideas And you know in your heart That you can make a difference All you need is to start It doesn’t matter at all If you’re a boy or a girl You’re never too little To start changing the world


Shelling along the edge of a sea, a man catches sight of a girl who appears to be engaged in a ritual dance. She stoops down, then straightens to her full height, casting her arm in an open arc. Drawing closer he sees that the beach around her is littered with starfish and she is throwing them one by one into the sea. He lightly mocks her, “There are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see, for miles up the beach. What difference can saving a few of them make?” Smiling, she bends down and once more tosses a starfish out over the water, saying serenely, “It certainly makes a difference to this one.”


In the story, a girl was saving starfish by throwing them back into into the sea. She was making a difference by helping the starfish one by one. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY how he/she helped someone recently. Ask how he/she felt after helping this person. Now it’s your turn! Think of a time when you helped someone. What happened? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ How did YOU feel when you helped this person? I felt _________________________________________________ How do you think the person felt when you helped him/her? This person felt ________________________________________


Just for Fun! Think of a fun time you recently shared with a family member. Describe it below. I was with _____________________________________________ We were at ____________________________________________ This is what we did:_____________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw it below!



Dream Big

This week and next week are about dreaming big. When you dream big, you dream without limitations. For example, you can dream about creating a new type of airplane or traveling to the North Pole. You can also dream about who you can become – the fastest runner, or the best piano player in the world. Your big dreams can be so big that they might seem very hard to achieve at first. However, you should remember that there is nothing that can stop you from reaching your big dreams! Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY about his/her big dream. What is it? Now it’s your turn! What is your biggest dream? My biggest dream: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________

______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________



Elon Musk Is Inspired by the Stars Lying on his back in the grass, Elon Musk gazes up into the night sky. He looks up at Mars and sees it like a little rust speck among the stars. He dreams that he will someday explore mountains and find water on the red planet. Smiling to himself, Elon remembers how these dreams began when he was a child‌ As a young boy, Elon stayed up late looking at pictures of Mars in books. He read with a flashlight underneath sheets when he was supposed to be asleep. He liked to imagine how different the night stars looked underneath Mars’ sky. The older he grew, the more he read about Mars and other things too. 26

The more he read, the more curious he became. And the more curious he became, the more questions he had about the world around him. How could he make the air cleaner? Could he find a way to live on Mars? How could he help people have healthier and happier lives? When he was old enough, Elon tried to start answering these questions. He kept reading. He travelled across the world. He made friends with people who were asking the same questions. As years passed, these friends helped Elon work on one of his biggest challenges. He wanted to make a well-built car that ran entirely on the sun’s energy. After years of hard work, Elon and his friends succeeded! This gave him hope that he could keep inventing new ways to travel, maybe even into space! Late at night, Elon still likes to look at the stars. He hasn’t seen Mars yet, but knows there’s time. And there’s a lot more to discover until he can get there!


In the story, Elon Musk was dreaming big when he was a little boy. And when he got older, he was able to create things which didn’t exist before. Now think about something that YOU could invent. What would you invent? ______________________________________________________ How would your invention benefit other people or the world? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw your invention below!


Just for Fun! Imagine you owned a store. What would you sell there? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Where would your store be? ______________________________________________________ Draw a picture of your store.



Dream Big

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to tell you what he/she dreamed of becoming or doing when he/she was young. Now it is your turn! What are you dreaming of becoming or doing when you are older? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Explain why ___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw yourself being or doing that!


The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Eleanor Roosevelt 32

Think of a person you know of who has accomplished big and important things in the world. Who is it? ______________________________________________________ What has he/she accomplished or created? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Why do you think this person was able to accomplish big and important things? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Dream Big, Dream Often by Andrea Fox

Dream big, dream often, let your heart be your guide Be a teacher, a doctor, or play music worldwide Dream big, dream often, find what makes you great Reach for the stars, whether you’re eighty or eight Dream big, dream often, let your imagination run free There's a million and twenty-two things you can be


Knowing that you can achieve anything, what would you like to do? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What do you have to learn to do it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ How would you learn it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! It is fun to dream about how the world would look in the future! What do you think the world will be like in 50 years? In 50 years, I will be ____________________________________ and there will be _______________________________________ and _______________________________________ in the world. Below, draw how you see the world in 50 years!



Follow Your Heart

This week and next week are about following your heart. Sometimes we get a feeling or inner voice telling us to do something. This is especially true when we have to make a choice: Should I take guitar or violin lessons? Should I go play outside or read a book in my room? You might have experienced it yourself! When we listen to this inner voice and pay attention to the feeling, we “follow our heart.” Ask your Journal Buddy if he/she can remember a time when he/she listened to his/her inner voice to make a choice about something. Now it’s your turn! Can you think of a time you followed your heart when facing a choice? What happened? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________



Sylvia Earle’s Deep Dive As a girl, Sylvia Earle always loved the sea. Any chance she had, she would beg her parents to take her to the seas. She loved going to see all of the fish the water had to offer. She would spend hours in the water, learning all of the different kinds of fish. There were starfish, crabs, and even seahorses! There wasn’t a fish she didn’t like. She even liked the sharks. Over the years, Sylvia continued to spend time with the fish. She would dive under the water with a camera and heart for adventure. Sylvia was happier than ever when she went diving, but one day, while looking at the pictures she took, Sylvia realized something awful…


In every picture of fish she took, there was always trash. Sometimes there were grocery bags at the top of the water and sometimes there were empty water bottles. This trash was not only hurting the fish, it was destroying their homes too. Fish were growing sick, and nobody knew about it. It broke Sylvia's heart to see this. How could people be so unfair to the fish that she had grown to love? Then Sylvia realized…Maybe people didn’t know. So every day Sylvia went out to the shore and watched people. She asked them to clean up their trash and to put it where it belongs. The local people were impressed by Sylvia’s devotion to fish and stopped putting trash in the sea. Over time, when Sylvia visited her friends in the water, she saw how much happier they were. The fish weren’t sick anymore, and their homes were better than ever. Then Sylvia realized that only the fish around HER beach were safe. The rest of the oceans were still in danger. As the years went on, Sylvia continued to travel, dive, and inform people about the dangers of throwing trash in the oceans. To this day, Sylvia Earle works to help the oceans, and it's all thanks to the little girl with the big, big heart.


In the story, Sylvia Earle followed her heart when it told her to take care of the ocean. You also can do many things to preserve the environment and take care of trees, seas, lakes, animals, birds, and fish. Can you think of three things you can do to save or protect the environment or the wildlife around you? 1. I could ______________________________________________ 2. I could ______________________________________________ 3. I could ______________________________________________ Draw yourself doing one of these things below!


Just for Fun! Everyone has his/her favorite things. Just thinking about your favorite things can make you smile. Here are some of our favorite things: Catching a snowflake, making popcorn, tasting strawberry jam, jumping in puddles, watching fireworks, giving warm hugs, eating ice cream before bed, cuddling during Saturday morning cartoons, wearing warm fuzzy socks, giving someone special a Valentine's Day card. Write your favorite things in the heart!



Follow Your Heart

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to tell you about something new he/she tried recently. Now it’s your turn! Can you think of something new you tried this week? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw it below!


Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Steve Jobs 46

What is intuition? Imagine a chef who follows a new recipe. He follows the recipe very attentively, measuring all the ingredients precisely. Suddenly something inside tells him to use a different spice. This spice is not in the recipe, but he feels it will go very well in this dish. He goes ahead and puts the spice in. The dish tastes even better! That inner voice that told the chef to add a different spice was his intuition. You can practice using your intuition! Imagine you are a famous chef. Think of your most popular dish. Write down the ingredients according to your intuition.

Recipe Name _____________________________ Ingredients: ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ ____________________ ____________________


Follow Your Heart by Peter Thomas

When faced with tough decisions, When you simply can’t decide, The answer is easy, Just hear your voice inside, You heart will guide you forward, Will help when times are tough, That voice if you just trust it, Will help you rise above.


Think about a difficult choice in life you are facing now. What is it? Describe it below. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Write down the choices you have, and your feelings on whether or not it is the right one. My first choice:

What I feel about it...

My second choice:

What I feel about it...

My third choice:

What I feel about it...


Just for Fun! Do you have any special things that your family does regularly? Maybe it is eating your favorite breakfast each Sunday, riding bikes on weekends, arranging family photo albums, or making all kinds of different flavored jellies. What is your favorite thing that your family does regularly? Describe it below. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw your family doing this special thing below!



You Are Not What You Have

This week and next week are about being greater than what you have. You might have things like clothes, toys, and books. But they do not determine who you are as a person. Instead, other things like your thoughts, ideas, actions, qualities, and attitude make you the person you are.

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what qualities he/ she thinks make you YOU! Now it's your turn! What are your two most valuable qualities? My first valuable quality is _______________________________ It is valuable because ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ My second valuable quality is ____________________________ It is valuable because ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________



Taken for Granted As a boy, Hudson Tyler was always a friend. He never liked it when someone was sad, hurt, or alone. If another student at his school was sitting alone, Hudson would always be there to sit next to the person and offer part of his packed lunch. He never missed his friends’ birthdays, parties, or hard times. He loved to help in any way that he could. One day, Hudson learned something that would change his life. While Hudson always helped the people around him, he never knew about the people he couldn’t see. While watching the news with his parents one night, Hudson saw a village of people on TV. They were all sick and hurting! He saw a little boy drinking the dirty, muddy water from a river. There were thousands of people like this! 54

Hudson thought it was strange, until he realized the little boy didn’t have a choice. He wasn’t drinking dirty water because he wanted to. He was drinking dirty water because there wasn’t clean water around him. “Everybody should have clean water,” Hudson thought. “I have clean water. All my friends have clean water. Why doesn’t the little boy in Africa have clean water?” Hudson thought of what he could do to help. He was only nine, and Africa sure was far away. He would need help and he found it. It was called charity: water. Knowing he had his tenth birthday coming up, Hudson knew what he had to do. Instead of getting gifts for his birthday, Hudson wanted something else. He wanted to donate his birthday to the poor boys and girls in Africa. Hudson asked that instead of gifts, people donate to charity: water. Whenever someone asked Hudson why he donated his tenth birthday, he always gave people the same answer. “I donated one of my birthdays so that little boy could have more birthdays of his own.”


In the story, Hudson donated his birthday to the charity. Instead of getting gifts, he wanted to see other kids have clean water to drink. Hudson knew that new toys or devices would not make him stronger, kinder, or more loving. Think of different things you can do to develop more good qualities in you. For example, you can help clean a park and that would make you more helpful and caring. To be...

I could...


more confident


Just for Fun! Imagine that you could time travel into the past or future. Where and when would you go? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What would you do there? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw the place you would go.



You Are Not What You Have

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to share one thing he/she did recently, which was kind. Now it's your turn! What was one thing you did recently that was kind? Describe what happened. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ After I did it, I felt______________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched but must be felt in the heart.

Helen Keller 60

Think of one of your good friends. Who is it? _____________________________________________ Now think of three things that cannot be seen or touched that make this person special. For example, this could be his/her sense of humor, generosity, or playfulness. 1 _____________________________________________________ 2 _____________________________________________________ 3 _____________________________________________________ Draw this person below!


What Really Counts by Peter Thomas

At home, you might have many toys, Computers and a bike, Boxes full though seldom used, Yet all the things you like. The truth is that there is so much more, To happiness and fun, It’s what’s inside that counts the most, Learn this and you have won.


Just for Fun! Imagine you have a secret garden. What would be in it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Where would it be? ______________________________________________________ Draw your secret garden below!



Believe in Yourself

This week and next week are about believing in yourself. When you believe in yourself, you believe you can achieve things you want to achieve. Your belief makes you stronger, and you are more likely to succeed. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY about a time when he/she believed in him/herself when he/she did something hard. Now it’s your turn! Was there a time when you believed in yourself? Maybe it was when the task you were working on was especially hard. Describe what happened. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________



Walt Disney Built His Dreams When he was a young boy, Walter Elias Disney never liked to be called by his full name. He liked to be called Walt. And Walt liked to dream about what others said was impossible. While he was growing up, Walt started to draw so he could show people his dreams. Sitting at a table with pencil and paper, he drew animals that he saw at the circus and characters from the fairytales he liked to read. His favorite thing to draw was a funny little mouse with big ears and a wide smile. Walt took this mouse on adventures in cartoons. He drew worlds filled with wizards, cowboys, friendship, and love. As time passed, Walt started to dream about making his cartoons into movies. And after finding people who could help him, Walt got to sit in a movie theater and watch his very 67

own movie. One day, while watching his daughter on a merry-go-round, Walt had an idea. And he knew it was a great one! He wanted to build a town filled with the places he drew. A town filled with castles, merry-go-rounds, cotton candy, and all the dreams he could imagine, a place where anyone could walk into a fairytale. After years of planning, he built his town. It was filled with everything he planned. It even had a small park where he imagined what the future would look like. People still go to this town to walk through Walt’s dreams. Even when things didn’t go as planned, Walt never lost hope. He knew that when we trust our hearts, work hard, and believe in our imagination, we can all make the impossible seem possible!


Walt Disney came up with the idea of Disneyland while watching his daughter play in the park. Where do you think of your great ideas? Is there any special place and/or time of day? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw this special “idea� place below!



Believe in Yourself

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to share one of the best decisions he/she has ever made. Now it’s your turn! Think about one of the best decisions you have ever made. Describe your decision and what happened. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ The reason it was one of my best decisions is _______________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Imagine one of your friends wants to become an elite athlete and compete in the Olympic Games. Now that is a big dream! However, your friend does not believe he/she can do it. Write your friend a letter telling him/her why he/she should believe in him/herself. Convince your friend that a belief in your own success is very important!

Dear _______________________, _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Love, __________________________


Believe In You by Peter Thomas

It takes ideas to start journeys, And the courage to believe, Skills to make the ideas work, Plus effort to achieve. You possess all of these qualities, They live within your heart, Just believe in yourself and your ideas, This is the best way to start.


Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to share his/her most memorable success this year. Now it’s your turn! Think about your most memorable success this year. Describe it below. My most memorable success this year was...

I succeeded because...

When I succeeded, I felt...


Just for Fun! Imagine you could give someone any gift in the world. Who would you give this gift to? ______________________________________________________ What gift would you give them? ______________________________________________________ Draw this person and the gift below!



Take Action

This week and next week are about taking action. When you create your big dreams, you can learn anything you need to make them a reality. Then you take action! You apply what you have learned. You take action as if you were climbing a staircase one step at a time towards your dream. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what he/she would like to achieve this year. Now it's your turn! Think about what you want to achieve this year. One goal I would like to achieve this year is

Now think about which actions you can take in order to achieve it. Think of each action as a step towards your goal. Step one:

Step two:



How A Man Became an Antarctic Hero In 1910, two teams of men wanted to go to the South Pole. One team was from the United Kingdom. This team was led by Robert Falcon Scott, a Royal Navy officer. The other team was from Norway. This team was led by a man named Roald Amundsen. Amundsen was an explorer. Both men wanted to reach the South Pole first. No human had ever reached that location before. Each team took its own approach to making the trip. The Norwegian team reached the South Pole first. Its trip went well. The leader of the Norwegian team, Roald, made them walk the same number of miles each day. Some people in the team wanted to walk fewer miles when the weather was bad. 79

Some people in the team wanted to walk more miles when the weather was good. But Roald told them that they were going to walk the same distance every day. This meant that the team members would get enough rest. With this approach, the Norwegian team reached the South Pole first. The team from the United Kingdom chose a different approach. They did manage to reach the South Pole. However, their trip was hard. Their leader, Scott, made them walk a long way on some days. He said that they should walk as much as possible when the weather was good. This was a bad idea because the team became very tired. In the end, the trip did not go as planned. There are different ways to reach a goal. You should move closer to your goal every day, little by little. You can’t wait for everything to be “just right.” You should take small steps and never give up on your goal!


In the story, the two explorer teams had different approaches to reaching the South Pole. The Norwegian team walked the same amount each day. They took action every day, no matter the weather. They reached the South Pole first. The United Kingdom team walked as much each day as the weather permitted. They took action only on sunny days and rested when the weather was bad. They were second to reach the South Pole. Imagine you were to lead an explorer team to the South Pole. Would you choose to walk every day or only on sunny days? I would _______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Explain why: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what they would do and why.


Just for Fun! Make up a brand new holiday that celebrates your favorite activity or game. What would you call it? How would people celebrate it? Would there be parades? Would people dress up in costumes on your holiday? My new holiday is called _________________________________ This holiday is to celebrate _______________________________ Draw people celebrating your holiday.



Take Action

Is there anything you would like to change in your life? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What do you need to do to change it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


You don't have to be great to start but you have to start to be great. Zig Ziglar 85

Even a small action can have a huge impact on your life and the world. So do not wait! Start today and practice taking positive actions every day. Instead of just thinking about doing things, do them! For example, you could do something helpful for your parent without him/her asking. You could also write a nice letter to someone you like. Write down your ideas of kind or helpful actions you could take. It is kind or helpful because...

My action:


Take Action by Peter Thomas

You have had a great idea, Or come up with a plan, It's time to take the next step, You know inside you can, For ideas are just ideas, Unless you make them real, Just go ahead and do it, Imagine how you'll feel.


Just dive in!


Think of a boy who was afraid to dive into the pool, but he did it anyway! Why is it important for you to be brave and take action even when you are afraid? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY if there was a time he/she took action even if he/she was afraid or uncertain. Now it’s your turn! Can you think of a time when you were brave and acted even when you were afraid or uncertain? Describe what happened and what you did (continue on the next page). ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! Everyone can write stories, and you can too! Mark one of the three stories you would like to write about, and begin. Rewrite your favorite book into a short story in your own words. Write a story about yourself 10 years in the future. Give yourself one superpower. Explain how you use this superpower in the story. Think about an animal shelter and tell the story of one animal being adopted by a family. My story title: ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 91

______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Each great story should have an illustration. Draw it below!



Be Persistent

This week and next week are about being persistent. It means sticking with something and not giving up on your goals. For example, if you practice the violin for over a year before you master playing a beautiful melody - that is being persistent! Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY about a recent time he/she was persistent in reaching a goal. Now it’s your turn! Write below about a time you remained persistent to accomplish your goal. The goal I reached:

The setback I experienced:

How I stayed persistent and achieved success in the end:



Many years ago a woman named Joanne Rowling, who went by Jo, lived alone with her daughter in a small apartment in a wet and rainy city called Edinburgh, in a country called Scotland. Jo had very little money and no job, but she loved to write. And she wanted to become a great writer of children’s books. So she got up every morning and found something to write about. Jo knew that if she wanted to write something great, then she needed to practice storytelling. One day, while sitting with her daughter at breakfast, Jo imagined a character: a boy wizard named Harry Potter. Harry had a scar in the shape of a lightning bolt on his forehead. He had a pet owl and lived in a magical world that Jo created. She began to write, spending countless hours crafting Harry’s world. She wrote on napkins in cafes, in notebooks on buses, and on her typewriter at home. Jo spent several years writing until she 98

felt like she had written the best book she could write. After finishing her story about Harry, Jo wanted to share it with the world. She met an agent, who took her book to the best publishers across England. All of them rejected Jo’s novel, but she didn’t give up. Jo asked her agent to keep trying because she was confident in the story she had written. Even though she sometimes felt confused by the rejection, she pushed forward. After a year of trying, a publisher in London finally accepted her story and she published her novel under the name J.K. Rowling. Jo finally got to see her novel in stores and in children’s hands. She wrote a whole series of books about Harry Potter! Because Jo believed in herself, we don’t have to imagine a world without Harry Potter.


In the story, J.K. Rowling stayed persistent even when she was getting many rejections. Her persistence helped her publish the first Harry Potter book, which was only the beginning of Rowling’s success. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to share a story when he/she got upset and wanted to give up but kept going. Now it is your turn! Think of a situation when you had to do something very hard and wanted to give up but kept going. I worked very hard at ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ When I got upset and wanted to give up, I kept going by ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ I didn’t give up because _________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? ______________________________________________________ List things you would take with you. ______________________________________________________ Draw what you would take with you in the suitcase below.



Be Persistent

Did you know that your brain is like a muscle? It changes and grows the more you use it. When you run, your leg muscles grow and get stronger. When you learn and practice, parts of your brain change and get stronger. You can train your brain through learning and practice! Now think about the ways YOU train your brain. Write down in the spaces below. I am good at...

I trained my brain to be good at it by...

I would like to become better at..

I can train my brain to be better at it by...


Fall seven times, stand up eight. Japanese Proverb 104

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY about a time he/she didn’t give up even when it was difficult. Why is it important for you to not give up even when it is difficult? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Never Give Up by Marie Date

Never give up on something you want to do, Remember the person to make it happen is you, Be true to your mind and your heart, By carrying on the way that you start, Always make sure you do your very best, Don’t give up and never take a rest, Keep going until you get it right, Just try and try with all your might.


Think of something difficult you are currently trying to achieve. Now think of different ways you can try to stay persistent and reach your goal. The hard thing I am trying to achieve:

One way I can try to reach my goal:

Another way I can try to reach my goal:

When I accomplish this goal, I will feel‌


Just for Fun! Think about the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you. Who was it? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ What has he/she done for you? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw your friend below!



Effort is Key

This week and next week are about effort. Effort means you use your time and energy to work on something. When you are working on achieving something, it is important how much effort you put forth. If you are using the right strategies, effort will help you succeed. Have you tried playing a musical instrument? At first, everyone struggles to learn to play music. Many people give up and never learn how to play. Others keep practicing every day and find different ways to play their best. These people play beautifully and skillfully. They use the right strategies and put forth lots of effort. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to think of a story when he/she used or put forth lots of effort and succeeded at something. Now it’s your turn! When did you put forth lots of effort recently? Describe what you did below. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Effort is Key


How Nicholas's Effort Made Him Great As a boy, Nicholas McCarthy grew up watching his parents roam through the kitchen as gourmet chefs. Nicholas wanted to be a chef when he grew up too, but one day he had a change of heart. When Nicholas heard his friend play the piano, he could have sworn that the music was speaking to him. Ever since that day, Nicholas knew that he didn’t want to be a chef‌He wanted to be a pianist. There was only one problem. No matter how happy the music made Nicholas, there was one thing that would always limit him, Nicholas was born without his right hand. As Nicholas learned more about famous pianists, all he could find in himself was doubt. How could he EVER be 112

as good as them? No. He wouldn’t let that stop him. Nicholas loved music too much. If he wanted to be one of the greats, that just meant he’d have to play TWICE as well, and nobody was going to stop him! Every day, Nicholas sat down at a piano, learning how to play simple songs. There were many days when Nicholas wanted to give up. Giving up would be a lot easier than practicing. Nicholas didn’t want the easy way though. He tried and tried, and his whole family recognized that he was getting better every day! Even when people told Nicholas that he’d never be great, he didn’t believe them. To this day, many years later, Nicholas continues to play the piano. He became so good at playing the piano, he was accepted into a school for music! Today, he spends his time on stages around the world being cheered on by large crowds. Nicholas may have been born without a hand, but his effort and hard work made him great.


In the story, Nicholas was told that he wouldn't be able to become a professional pianist because he only had one hand. He worked very hard and became a great pianist. Can you think of anyone you know who succeeded because he/she put forth a lot of effort? Perhaps someone at school, or someone you read about in a book. Who is this person? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ How do you know him/her? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Describe how he/she succeeded because of his/her great effort. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! If you could be anyone in the world for a day, who would it be and why? I would be _____________________________________________ because _______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw yourself being that person!



Effort is Key

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what he/she would like to get better at. Now it's your turn! What would you like to become better at? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Now think of different strategies to try to become better at it. For example, you can get better at something by asking someone to practice with you, or spending more time practicing on your own. Below, list as many strategies as you can think of. My Strategies 1. ____________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________ 4. ____________________________________________________ 5. ____________________________________________________ Which of these strategies will you try? Circle them to remember!


A problem is a chance for you to do your best. Duke Ellington 118

Can you think of a time you faced a problem and did your best to solve it? The problem I had was: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What I did to solve it: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Keep Trying by Peter Thomas

Don’t tell yourself you cannot do, Or that you will not try, Don’t quit before you get it right, Here is the reason why, With effort and commitment, You will one day succeed, It’s the effort to keep going, And keep trying is what you need.


Sometimes how much effort you put into things is more important than how much talent you have. You have a great chance to succeed in things you put a lot of effort into. Think about your recent success. What was it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ To what do you attribute your success? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! What are three things that you could never live without? 1. ____________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________ Draw them below!



Love Learning

This week and next week are about the love of learning. Learning is one of the most important and interesting things in life! When we learn, we grow. You can learn about anything that interests you. And you can learn anywhere: at home, outside, in a museum, on a playground, on a train, and anywhere else. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what he/she would like to learn about. Now it’s your turn! What is one thing you want to learn before this year is over? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ One way I can learn it:

Another way I can learn it:



Curiosity Have you ever asked a question? Not just any question, but a question about the world. Have you ever wondered why the grass is green? Why the sun rises and sets every single day? Maybe you’ve wondered what lies beneath the surface of the oceans. These crucial questions have answers that have changed the world as we know it. If you have asked these questions, you’re not alone. Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of thousands of scientists to ask these questions. From childhood to adulthood, he never stopped asking questions. He was one of the kids that enjoyed school for everything it had to offer. He could look at the skies and ask a hundred questions, then look at the dirt beneath his feet, and ask a hundred more. 126

This curiosity is what drives Neil today. Throughout his entire life, he’s become more famous for his questions. He’s helped lead efforts toward making new, ground-breaking discoveries. He’s been given awards, appeared on TV and radio shows, and even authored 10 books to share his knowledge. Neil deGrasse Tyson knows the ‘superpower’ of asking questions. Neil has two frames of mind that he likes to follow. One: “Know more today about the world than I knew yesterday.” Two: “Lessen the suffering of others.” These two philosophies are what drive Neil deGrasse Tyson, and you’d be surprised how far they can get you. The day people stop asking questions will be the day that the world stands still. Ask questions. Learn everything you can. School might not seem like a lot of fun, but knowledge is like magic. The closer you look, and the more questions you ask, the more you will understand. That is the beauty of curiosity, and that is the beauty humans share with each other.


In the story, Neil deGrasse Tyson grew up asking many questions about the world around him. By asking questions, he was finding more and more things to learn. What are your questions about the world? What are you curious about? Write in the spaces below. I wonder...

I can learn about it by...


Just for Fun! Imagine you can travel to an island and spend one week there!

Describe what you find there. Who lives there? Would you find any treasures? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________



Love Learning

If you could be a teacher for a day, what would you teach? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ How would you teach it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw a picture of you doing that!


There is a difference between not knowing and not knowing YET. Sheila Tobias 132

You were born to learn! Think of all the things you have already learned so far. Last year, I learned how to...

Last month, I learned how to...

This month, I am learning how to...


Love to Learn by Marie Date

Come on, kids, let’s pick up a book, Turn the pages and have a look, Learning is a fun thing to do, With so much to see that’s new, Different places and faraway lands, Oceans and beaches with soft sands, Animals that you’ve never seen, Including tree frogs which are bright green, So, as you see, there’s a lot to know, And you’ll keep learning as you grow.


What did you recently learn outside of school or home? Write down where you learned it. I learned...

Where I learned it:


Just for Fun! Have you met somebody who is different from you? For example, someone who dresses differently or eats different food? Who was it? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ What did you like about this person? ______________________________________________________ Draw him/her below.



Be Mindful

This week and next week are about being mindful. It means giving attention to what is going on now, in this moment. When you are mindful, you are giving attention to what you are seeing, what you are hearing, tasting, smelling – everything in this moment, right now. Now let’s try it! Look around where you are and find an interesting object: a plant, a toy, a book, or anything else. What is it? ____________________________________________ Draw it below with as many details as you can.

Now describe other details about this object that you could not draw. For example, how it smells, or how it feels when you touch it. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 138


Akio Takes A Breath It was the last class of the day and Akio’s least favorite, math. It wasn’t that Akio disliked math. “Math dislikes Akio,” he told his dad after his last bad test grade. While he was getting ready for the final bell, Akio’s teacher, Ms. Hopper, had an announcement. She told the class that they were going to have a test soon. Akio’s stomach dropped. Even though he always did his homework correctly and studied hard, Akio got nervous during tests. He got so nervous that he couldn’t think straight. So Akio stayed after class to talk to Ms. Hopper. After the other students left, Akio walked up to Ms. Hopper’s 140

desk and told her about getting nervous during tests. Ms. Hopper smiled encouragingly. “I’m glad you’re talking to me about this.” “Is there anything I can do? Should I study more…?” “I’m sure you study enough, Akio.” Ms. Hopper sat on the edge of her desk. “I’ll give you a trick. I never liked taking math tests either. I used to get too nervous to think.” She paused. “Maybe you could try being mindful.” “What is that?” “Well, being mindful is about noticing what is going on around you. It is also about noticing how you are feeling in this moment.” “How can I actually do that during a test?” “It’s simple. Turn the test over before you even begin. Close your eyes. Place your hands on the table. Take a minute to yourself to take deep breaths. Clear your thoughts. Then turn the test over and begin with a fresh mind.” Akio used Ms. Hopper’s advice on the next test, and got one of the best grades in the class.


In the story, Akio was able to focus and get calm right before his test. He was being mindful. As a result, he passed the test with an excellent grade. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY how he/she could benefit from being mindful. Now it’s your turn! Can you think of a time in your day when you can benefit from being mindful? I could be mindful when _________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ I would do it by ________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ It would help me this way: _______________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! What is your favorite thing about your family? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw your family below dressed up in funny costumes.



Be Mindful

Try the exercise below together with your JOURNAL BUDDY. Many people around the world do it every day and now you can try it too. It will remind you of self-love, love for your friends and family, and even for complete strangers.

Loving Kindness Step One: Read this aloud together with your JOURNAL BUDDY: May I be healthy. May I be peaceful. May I be happy. Step Two: Read this to each other with your JOURNAL BUDDY: May you be healthy. May you be peaceful. May you be happy. Step Three: Think of someone in your family. Who is it? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ Now you can send them health, peace, and happiness. Imagine sending your love to him/her. You can imagine your love flying towards him/her like a paper airplane or a butterfly. If you wish, you can close your eyes to imagine it.


Say their name first, and then: Say:

May you be healthy. May you be peaceful. May you be happy.

Step Four: Now you can send health, peace, and love to anyone in the world! Think of someone in your family, your friend, teacher, or anyone else. You can also think of any creatures like animals in the woods or fish in the sea. Write down who you would like to send health, peace, and happiness to and say the magic words. I would like to send health, peace, and happiness to ______________________________________________________ Say:

May you be healthy. May you be peaceful. May you be happy.

Would you like to do this Loving Kindness again in the future? Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY if he/she would like do it with you again!


The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.

Thich Nhat Hanh 147

When you are fully giving attention to someone, you are giving attention to things like this person’s words, voice, and the look on his/her face. If he/she is talking, you are carefully listening to what he/she is saying and how he/she is saying it. You are also paying attention to how this person feels. Why do you think the biggest gift you can give others is your full attention? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ How do you feel when someone is giving full attention to you? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Shake, Shake, Shake by Eve Gaal

Shake, shake, shake the snow globe until everything settles down. Wake, wake, wake up world listen to the sounds. Bake, bake, bake some cookies the smell might drive you wild. Taste, taste, taste but slowly does it make you smile? Take a break, break, break - and breathe stay true to yourself - you’re great. But don’t forget to say thank you to those who make, make, make your life... better every day.


Below is a short exercise for you to try being mindful. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY to read it to you and follow the instructions. Pay attention to how you feel while you are doing the exercise.

Mindful Smiling Find a comfortable position lying down on the floor or on your bed. Close your eyes, or if you aren’t comfortable closing them, have “soft eyes” just gazing up at the ceiling without really focusing on anything. Imagine you are just waking up. Open your eyes and take a few breaths, noticing the breath either going in and out of nostrils, or your belly going up and down. Now slowly turn your mouth up into a smile - not a big smile, just a normal smile like you would give to someone you like. Notice how your lips feel - are they together? Are your teeth showing? Are they warm, cool, damp, or something else? Now notice your cheeks - how does the smile make your cheeks feel? Does it push them out? Up? Does it make them feel warm, cool, or something else? Now notice the rest of your face - does your smile change anything about your eyes, your jaw, your ears? What about your teeth and your tongue? Now bring your attention to the rest of you. When you are ready, slowly raise yourself up as if you are getting out of bed. Gently give yourself a stretch and sit back up. 150

Describe how you felt when doing the exercise. I felt __________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Did you notice anything interesting? Describe it: I noticed ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ You can practice mindful smiling every morning on your own when you wake up. If done regularly, this exercise will make you happier, healthier, and more positive.


Just for Fun! Choose one of the three stories below. Mark the one you chose and start writing! Imagine that you and three of your best friends suddenly discover you all can fly. Where will you go? What will you do? Write a story where the main character receives a mysterious letter in the mail. What does the letter say? Write a story about a kid who lives in a land made of ice cream. My story title: ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 152

______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Each great story should have an illustration. Draw it below!



Be Grateful

This week and next week are about being grateful. It is fun to find things for which you are grateful. You can be grateful for a person (like family or friends), a place (like home or park), a thing (like books or a favorite tree) or even something else, like sports, a family trip, or the sunset. When you think of people and things you are grateful for, you become more joyful and positive. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what he/she is grateful for today. Now it’s your turn! What are you grateful for today? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw it below!



Gratitude Walks Do you like taking walks? Maybe around your neighborhood, in a park, or by your school? Next time you go for a walk, try a Gratitude Walk! What is a Gratitude Walk? It is a walk when you spend time thinking about different people, events, and things you are thankful for while you are walking. You can be thankful for what happened that day or maybe even for things that you see while you are walking – sky, rain drops or snowflakes, birds or insects. This Gratitude Walk is even better to do together with someone! Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY or someone else if he/she would go on a Gratitude Walk with you. When you are walking together with your JOURNAL BUDDY or someone else, take turns talking about the people, events, and things you are thankful for. The Gratitude Walks will lift up your mood and will make you feel very good about yourself and your life. Try it!


Lending A Voice to the World While he was still very young, Michael Franti learned to find gratitude during difficult times. He was adopted at a very young age. Even though it was hard to start a life with new people, he never doubted the support of his adopted family. He felt welcomed and respected. More than anything, he felt grateful to have love in his life. And he wanted everyone to have the chance to feel the joy and harmony he had found. As he grew older, Michael became interested in writing. A wise man he had met encouraged him to write poetry. One day, by chance, Michael bought a cheap guitar and learned a few chords. Before he knew it, he was putting his poems to music. He was writing songs! These songs expressed his gratitude for ordinary things, things that we see every day that can remind us of how lucky we are to be alive. 160

He started to use his music to remind people of the good in the world. He sang to people who had suffered a lot in their lives. He joined them together with the power of his words and his music. He inspired them to focus on good memories. He showed them that if we focus our energy on life’s positives, then we can make tomorrow better than today! Michael’s career as a singer has taken him all over the world. He has met people he never dreamed he would meet. He has helped people he never imagined he could help. And each person he meets and each song he writes teaches him more about himself and all the things he’s grateful for.


In the story, Michael Franti created music to spread love and joy. And he wrote songs about being grateful to remind people about it. Write about the songs you are grateful to listen to and why. Song I am grateful to listen to...

It makes me feel...



Be Grateful

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what is the best thing about being a child. Now it’s your turn! What do you think he/she thinks is the best thing about being a child? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Why? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward 165

I Am Grateful for... Write inside the leaves.


There are different ways in which you can thank someone. One way is to write them a letter. Look at the previous page and choose someone whose name you’ve written down on one of the leaves. If you haven’t written anyone’s name, think of someone who helped you recently. Write him/her a thank-you letter below.

Dear _______________________, _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Sincerely, __________________________


The Thankful Beat by Eve Gaal

I am thankful, that is true, for rainy clouds or skies of blue. I am thankful all the time. My heart thumps in my ear like a chime! The sound is louder when we play, softer at the end of the day. Bada-boom, Bada-boom Bada zoom-zoom-zoom. When friends come around I feel like jumping up and down. Pushing higher in the swing. I just want to sing. Songs start with a beat, Thankfully, I tap my feet. Bada-boom, Bada-boom Bada zoom-zoom-zoom.


Do you remember a time when someone thanked you for something you did for him/her? Describe what happened. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ How did you feel when he/she thanked you? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Now imagine, every time you thank someone, you can make him/her feel the same way!


Just for Fun! If you could have a superpower, would you rather be able to fly or be able to turn invisible? Explain why! I would rather __________________________________________ because _______________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw yourself using your superpower below!



Failure is Learning

This week and next week are about failures and mistakes. They are a good thing when you learn from them. The best part about making a mistake or failing is that we can use what we learned to improve the next time we try! Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY how he/she failed recently. Ask what he/she learned from it. Now it’s your turn! Think of a recent time you failed at something. Describe it. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What did you learn from it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Failure is Learning


Eureka: He’s Got It! “How does it feel to fail at 10,000 experiments?” the reporter asked Mr. Edison. Thomas Edison heard the reporter’s words and paused. He was surprised by the question. The reporter was asking about his new invention: the Edison bulb, a new light bulb he had been working on for several years. Really, his whole career had led him to this moment. Since he was a young boy in Ohio, Thomas had liked to understand how the world worked. He took things apart and put them back together. Everything around him was like a puzzle that needed solving. The light bulb was his latest project. During his career, Thomas had already invented many things. He created devices that helped make the world a better and 174

more interesting place. His most impactful undertaking was his latest creation, even though the light bulb was not an entirely new invention. Others had thought about and made them, but Thomas’s was the first successful light bulb that was both practical and affordable. Like the reporter had said, it took Thomas about 10,000 experiments to get it right. After each and every experiment, though, he made notes. He wrote about what worked and what didn’t work, which chemicals and elements he should or should not have used. But he never chose to see his hypotheses or experiments as failures. Thomas saw what others called failures as opportunities to learn. Each unsuccessful theory or attempt was simply a step toward his success. So Thomas Edison looked at the reporter sitting across from him. “I didn’t fail,” he said. “The light bulb was an invention with thousands of steps. Steps that I made, along with several other people before me. You can only call something failure after you’ve stopped trying.”


A great inventor, Thomas Edison tried and failed at 10,000 experiments before he finally invented the light bulb. He believed his light bulb was an invention with thousands of steps. What do you think he meant by this? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Why is it important to pay attention to your failures when you are trying to invent something? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! If you could travel back in time three years and visit your younger self, what advice would you give yourself? My advice to my younger self: ____________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw yourself three years ago!



Failure is Learning

Challenges in life are great, because when we solve them, we grow and become wiser. You might have experienced some challenges in school, at home, or with your friends. Ask you JOURNAL BUDDY about a current challenge he/she is facing. What is it? Has he/she found the solution yet? Now it’s your turn! Think of a current challenge you are facing. Describe it below. ______________________________________________________ Now think of some ideas for solutions. How would you solve your challenge? Remember, there are no wrong ideas. 1. ____________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________ Circle the solution you like the most. Why do you like it? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world.

Neil Gaiman 180

The poem says you should be making many mistakes. If you never make ANY mistakes, it means you are doing things that are TOO easy for you. When you make mistakes, it means you are trying things, which helps your brain grow! How do you think making mistakes can be good for you? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Is it possible to never make mistakes, when you are trying a new or a hard thing? Why/why not? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Next Time

by Eve Gaal

Sometimes a fisherman loses a fish Sometimes the best cook drops a dish And gardeners growing vegetable seeds Sometimes find nothing but crabgrass and weeds. But why do you think they still succeed? Because they tried and tried kept on going - swallowed their pride. So welcome failure or making a mistake, It’s like learning and practicing before everything you make.


Sometimes when we fail at something, it just means we haven’t learned how to do it YET. The “YET” at the end means that you are on your way to improving and mastering what you are struggling with currently. Write down below what you have not learned or figured out yet. Write what you need to do to change that. I haven’t learned how to...

But if I...


YET! I don’t know how to...

But if I...



I have not figured out...

But if I...


I WILL! 183

Just for Fun! Imagine you were a movie director. What kind of movie would you make? What would you name it? What would it be about? My movie is called ______________________________________ It is about _____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw the main characters below.



Be Positive

This week and next week are about being positive. For example, you can be positive about a situation, a person, or your life in general. When you are positive, you look for good things. Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY if he/she knows someone who is a positive person. Ask him/her to describe this person to you. Now it’s your turn! Think of someone you know who is a positive person. Who is it? Write his/her name here. ______________________________________________________ Think of three things this person does that make you think he/she is positive. 1. ____________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________



Just Believe, Jackie! It is 1984, summertime in Los Angeles. Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s heart beats with pride, purpose, and hope. The sun is hot on her forehead and she is beginning to feel her joints ache. Ignoring the heat, she takes a drink of water and smiles. Jackie is about to win her first Olympic medal. Growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois, Jackie knew from a young age that she wanted to be a track athlete, even though a lot of people said her dreams were too big. It was too hard, too impossible, too far a reach to be a professional athlete. These words didn’t stop when she came in last during her first track meet or when she was diagnosed with asthma. But these obstacles just made her more determined. Jackie knew 100% that she was going to achieve her dreams. She could and would do better. She just needed to stay positive and believe in herself! 188

From this first loss and the others that followed, Jackie learned to see losing as growth instead of failure. She observed and learned from other athletes instead of being jealous of them. By staying positive and applying what she learned, Jackie refined her own training. She improved second by second, little by little. She moved from last place to sixth place, from sixth to fourth. Until, eventually, she stood with a medal around her neck. Jackie takes her step onto the winners’ stand. This is exactly where she’s meant to be. She has worked hard, stayed positive, and never let obstacles defeat her spirit. As the silver medal is placed over her neck, she knows next time it will be gold. But for now, she smiles and enjoys her victory!


In the story, Jackie Joyner-Kersee stayed positive and believed in herself. By staying positive and applying what she learned from her failures and from others, she was able to succeed. Think of a recent time you stayed positive in a difficult situation. Describe what happened. The difficult situation I was in:

I stayed positive by...

This is how staying positive helped me:


Just for Fun! Imagine you decided to write a book. What would this book be about? ______________________________________________________ Write the first chapter below! CHAPTER ONE Title: ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ 191

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Each great book should have a great cover. Draw it below!



Be Positive

Ask your JOURNAL BUDDY what he/she loves doing that makes him/her the happiest. Now it’s your turn! List your favorite things to do and who you love doing them with. You can write “alone” for the things you most like doing on your own.

My Favorite Things To Do I like...



There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Norwegian Saying 197

Think about three things you can do to make tomorrow a great day. To make tomorrow a great day, I could...

I also could...

And to make it even better, I could...



by Eve Gaal

Sometimes clouds hide the sun Those are days I smile more. Time to overcome, time to have fun. Even when it rains and everyone seems sad, I jump into puddles at full swing, clear my throat, begin to sing. Like a glass bottle of stars Way up in the sky, I twinkle and share from my jar spreading happiness near and far.


It is important to stay positive even when things go wrong. When you find good things in every situation, your sad feelings disappear faster and you feel more joyful. You can practice finding good things in unfortunate situations. The more you practice, the better you become at it. Here is how you can do it. Think about the most recent time when something did not go your way and you felt upset. Briefly describe what happened. ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ List two things that can help you see the good side of this situation. For example, if you ran after a bus but missed it, the good thing is you got some exercise. One good thing: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Another good thing: ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


Just for Fun! Imagine you could meet any famous person in the world. Whom would you meet? Write his/her name here: ______________________________________________________ What would you ask him/her? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ Draw this person below!



Your Big Life

You have completed your Big Life Journal! Remember that every end is a new beginning. You can take what you have learned and apply it to living your Big Life! What did you like the most from this Journal? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ What have you learned from this Journal that you want to apply in your life? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


What does having a Big Life mean to you? ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________


It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J.K. Rowling 205

AKNOWLEDGEMENT We would like to acknowledge Dr. Carol Dweck for her work on the mindset psychological trait described in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Her book inspired us to create this Journal to help develop a growth mindset in young people.


Take a peek inside the Big Life Journal  
Take a peek inside the Big Life Journal