My Bubie gets worried sometimes because she knows that there are people who may hurt or scare children or do things that she says is not appropriate (that means it is not good or right). She always tells us that if we feel uncomfortable in a place, even if it is with people we know, we need to leave and we need to tell our parents or our Bubie and Zada about what made us upset. I am good at saying ‘No’ when I don’t want to do something or it doesn’t feel right, but some children need to learn this, as you can read in the next story.
Once there was a young girl who loved to say, “Yes” to everything. She always said, “Yes”, when her friends asked her to share her pencils and pens with them. She always said, “Yes” when her Mommy or Tatty asked her to help and she always said, “Yes” when her brothers and sisters asked her to play with them. She even said, “Yes” when she was on the playground waiting in line to go down the slide, if someone wanted to go ahead of her. The girl’s name was Chaya and you might say that she was a real Tzedakus (a righteous girl).
However, sometimes in life a person needs to say, “No” and Chaya did not understand that she would sometimes need to say “No” to people. She wanted everyone to like her and she genuinely wanted to be helpful and kind to her family, friends and even people she did not know.
One day someone asked Chaya to come with him to help him with something. You guessed it, Chaya said, “Yes”. She followed the person along the streets of her neighborhood until they came to a house. The house was old and looked like no one had taken very good care of it. She could smell something cooking inside but she didn’t know what it was. The young man, who had asked her for help, invited her into the house. Chaya wanted to be helpful and so she went into the house.
The house was very strange. There were clothes piled high in the middle of the floor. There was a pot cooking on the stove but no one was watching it, there were spider webs in all of the corners of the room and it seemed as if there was a baby crying softly somewhere, but Chaya could not see her.
“What do you need me to do?” asked Chaya. But then, she looked into the eyes of the young man and she suddenly became scared. She did not know why, because she had never been scared of anyone before in her life. She tried not to think about her fear because she wanted to be helpful. Suddenly, Chaya heard a bang! The door to the house slammed shut! “No”! She yelled. “I cannot help you! Get away from me and let me out of this house or I will scream very loudly!” Before she knew it she started to scream and the young man became nervous. He ran to open the door for her and she ran out as fast as she could go.
Chaya didn’t exactly know where she was. She started running through streets and when she finally stopped she realized that she was lost. “How did this happen?” She thought to herself. She had only wanted to help and to be kind. She had been scared, she had screamed and now she was lost!
Suddenly, Chaya felt that someone was speaking to her, but she couldn’t see who it was. “You will be fine Chaya”, the voice said. “I will help you to find your way home”. And just like the phone that her Bubie and Zada had in their car that gave you directions to find your way to different places, the voice began to tell her, “Go straight, turn left here, go right there, do not worry, I will help you to get back to your home”.
On the way home Chaya saw many children playing, Mommies and Tatties walking in the park, playgrounds, apartments and shops. “I don’t remember passing all of these places when I came here. What am I seeing?” The voice said to Chaya, “You are seeing all of the people whom you have helped over the years of your still young life. Saying, ‘yes’ to all of these people made them happy and made their lives easier; this is a big Mitzvah (good deed) which you have done, Chaya.”
“So many people need help in this world and there aren’t so many who are willing to help. You, Chaya, are kind to older people, children and even animals. You have a very special Neshama (soul)”, added the voice. “That is why I was sent here to help you get back to your home.” “Who sent you?” asked Chaya. “Hashem sends us out. Everyone has someone watching over them, a guardian angel, and I am the one who watches over you. I am never too far away.”
Chaya thought about this for a while as she was guided through the streets by her guardian angel. “Why did you come to me now?” she asked. “In life, we all have lessons to learn. Sometimes someone needs to be taught to be kinder, or not to say bad things about people, or to help others, or to work hard. In your case Chaya, you need to learn how to say, ‘No’. Saying, ‘No’ is one way to protect someone from bad things happening to them. There are people in this world who are not kind like you. They hurt others and they do things that they should not do to cause pain and fear. To these people we have to say, ‘NO, I will not go with you. NO, I will not help you. NO, I will not let you scare me or hurt me!’ This is what you need to learn Chaya. It is your challenge, but it is very important because this word and your actions to scream and run away from someone who scares you, or is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, is the way to protect yourself and it is important to protect yourself.”
Chaya thought about what her angel was saying to her. She thought about times that she had said, “Yes”, when it made her feel uncomfortable. She thought about how sometimes it is very difficult to decide if something doesn’t feel right or maybe you are just too lazy to help someone. How would she learn when to say, “No”? It wasn’t easy for her. This was going to be a big challenge.
Finally, Chaya arrived at her home. As she was about to go into her house, her angel said to her, “Chaya, one thing that I can teach you is if, in your heart or in your tummy you feel that something someone has asked you to do makes you feel scared or nervous or not good inside then say, ‘No’. You should always trust your feelings. Hashem (God) gives children a special Chush (sense) that tells them when something is not right. They feel uncomfortable and you, like all children, need to trust that feeling. When you have it, say, ‘NO’ and get away. Also remember that you are very important and that you are loved and just like there are angels sent to protect you, you can also protect yourself.”
When Chaya entered her home her Mommy was very worried because she had been gone a long time and she didn’t know where she was. She had called some of her friends and they had not seen Chaya. “Where were you?” asked Chaya’s Mommy. Chaya thought for a moment. She didn’t want to worry her Mommy, but then she decided to tell her about the young man who had asked her to come with him to help him, and she had screamed and run away from him and yelled out, “NO”!
Chaya’s Mommy was angry with her for going someplace with a stranger and also not telling anyone that she was going. “You must tell me if someone tries to hurt you or scare you even if it is someone whom you know,” she said. “Yes”, said Chaya, “and also, I need to learn to say, ‘NO’.” Chaya’s sisters and brothers were so happy to see her home they even said to her, “Chaya, you can even say, ‘no’ to us sometimes, if you need to practice, but not too often!” Then they all laughed and set the table and sat down to eat their dinner together.
While they were eating, Chaya glanced out of the window and there in the shadows was her guardian angel. They smiled at one another and then her angel winked and disappeared, for now.