Children's Book Teaches Family Values

By Eric Olson

December 13, 2013 Updated Dec 13, 2013 at 12:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive)--A special day at Fort Wayne’s Holland Elementary School…a lesson to learn, taught on this day by retired Ohio teacher and children’s book author Waneta Worstine. She’s reading to the kids today from her new book, ‘Grandma’s Yarn’. ‘Grandma’s Yarn’ recounts a family Christmas long ago at the author’s family farm, when her parents hid presents all around the farmyard, tying a string of yarn to each gift that ran from the present back to the house, through all the rooms, converging on a giant yarn spider web. To get their present each child had to follow the string through the house, out the door and eventually to the gift.

“It wasn’t the gift at all that mattered,” Worstine says, “it wasn’t the wrapping, the gift was actually in spending time close to your family, laughing together, creating memories, so that when something bad happens you have a family structure to support you.”

Worstine taught public school for 15 years and says many of her students had no holiday family traditions..had no real family structure to support them. Her book encourages kids to begin their own family traditions to fill the void.

“They want those moments too,” she says, “to be hugged and loved and know that they’re important know that they’re special in somebody’s eyes, that somebody believes in them.”

And when story time’s done it becomes clear why the floor was latticed with yarn when the kids came in. Each child grabs a string, winds it up and follows it to a small gift. Lesson taught, lesson learned, class is over and the kids leave…but they’re changed a bit…not quite the same as they were when they came in. Anxious, perhaps, to get home and start a family tradition or two of their own. Eric Olson reporting out in 21Country.

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