The Pink Boots

These are the "3 C's". Livtar learns the hard way how these 3 things took away her happiness....

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    Livtar Kaur was a girl just like any other. She had a destiny to live up to, just like you. She had many lessons to learn along the way, and just like you, she had help along the way. For her, it was her auntie ji she always saw at gurdwara. Aunti ji was so graceful, warm and smiley, and she always knew exactly what to do. Livtar loved her, “When I grow up I want to be just like you auntie ji! I mean it, I do! Tell me, what can I do to be like you?" 

    Auntie ji replied, “Well, I’ll share with you what I did. When my life wasn’t going well I would look to see if it was because I was doing any of the things that take away my happiness. You know, there are three things we must never do in order to be happy.”

    Livtar was curious to know what the three things were! Auntie ji continued, “Comparing ourselves to others, competing with others to make them look bad and complaining  about things that are not going the way we wish. These are called the three C’s.”

    Livtar said, “Well that makes it easy to remember! Compare, complain, compete.” “Yes beti! If we avoid these three... our lives will be much better. I promise you!”

    The next day it was raining so Livtar had to wear her boots to school. Her Mom had bought them on sale over a year ago. They weren’t shiny anymore and they looked a little old, but they kept her feet dry. When she got to school that morning she noticed that her friends were gathering around the new girl at school named Emily. Livtar asked her best friend Lizzy what all the girls were talking about, “I think it’s something she’s wearing...”

    Livtar walked over to the group of girls and looked over their shoulders. Emily was showing off her new boots, “I just bought them brand new, and they were really expensive! They were the prettiest boots in the whole mall!”

    The boots were shiny, bright pink and they were decorated with dancing poodles with sparkling eyes. The other girls were very impressed, "OMG…. soooooooo cute!” “Yeah, I just loooove the poodles!" “Those are like the coolest boots I’ve ever seen….” Even Livtar liked Emily's boots, “You know Livtar, honestly I agree. I want boots like those, don’t you?”

    Livtar looked down at her own boots. The blue color was dull and faded, the boots had marks on them. Livtar thought, "Compared to those boots I feel like a homeless person…”

    That day, Emily ended up sitting  next to Livtar and Lizzy in class and the whole day, Livtar kept looking at Emily’s new boots and then her own boots again and again, “Why did my Mata have to buy these lame boots...”

    Most days  Livtar Kaur had fun at school, but that day she did not. She was in a really bad mood. When she got home her mom asked, “What’s the matter sweetie?” Livtar complained, “My boots suck! They’re ugly and I’m not gonna wear them EVER again!!” Her mom tried to comfort her, “Oh honey, your boots aren’t ugly, they look fine.” But Livtar demanded, “Mata I need you to take me to the mall and buy me pretty new pink boots right now!”

    Livtar’s dad overheard this and came in the room, “Boots at the mall!? The mall is too expensive. We are not going to the mall just for some little rain boots.” Livtar responded, “Ugh, you don’t understand! Why do I have to have parents who are so cheap!” “Do not call your parents cheap. You need to apologise.”
“But you make me look lame because you ARE so cheap!”
“You didn’t apologise and now you’re grounded. No friends over and I’m confiscating your iPad for a week.”
“That’s not fair!  Lizzy is coming over tomorrow! Ugh!!!”

    Then Livtar stormed off, slammed the door to her room and cried, “Why can’t I just have normal parents who take me to the mall like everyone else!? It’s all their fault! And THEN they grounded me! Ukhhhh...” At school she had felt bad, but now she felt horrible, “This is like the worst day of my life!!!”

    The next day it wasn’t raining, “Oh thank God, what a relief I don’t have to wear those ugly boots. Even though I’m grounded I’m going to try and have a better day today.” It was the day the students got their grades back. Livtar wasn’t worried because she usually got pretty good grades, “Oh nice! I got a B+ average.” 

    Emily showed off to Livtar, “Well, that’s good for you. But look what I got!” Then Emily held up her paper, “That’s right, I got an A average! Looks like I beat you, huh?” Livtar felt hot with anger and thought to herself, “I hate Emily. She thinks she’s so much better than me...”

    It was another month until they got  their grades again. Livtar thought about beating Emily for that whole month! She pushed herself to get perfect grades, “I’ll prove that I’m better…”

    It had been a couple of weeks, and her parents began noticing that she was much more serious than usual. She was spending a lot more time doing homework. Lizzy noticed the difference in her friend too, “I don’t know what’s going on but she’s not much fun to be with lately…” Next time she saw Livtar she invited her over, “Hey Livtar, the weekend starts tomorrow. Wanna sleep over at my house or yours?” But Livtar was busy,

“I can’t hang out this weekend.”

“You said that last weekend. What’s going on?”

“I just have to study more.”

“But that’s all I see you doing these days.”

“Yeah, I’m gonna to win. You’ll see…”

    After 4 weeks had passed it was time for them to see their grades again. Emily again bragged, “Hey  Livtar, look, I got an A again!” Livtar stood up and showed her paper to Emily, “Yeah! Well look at this! I got an A +!!! Now who’s better HUH?!! Looks like I beat you!” Emily said, “Well, whatever..." Lizzy was no impressed with Livtar, “I don’t think you won anything Livtar. I don’t even know who you are now. You don’t even smile anymore. You care more about beating Emily than you do about your best friend. So I’ll just leave you two alone with each other!”

    Lizzy walked away... Livtar sat back down feeling deflated… “Hmphhh, this wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. I just feel… unhappy...”

    That evening Livtar and her family happened to go to a gurdwara service. When auntie ji saw her, she could tell that Livtar needed some guidance, “Beti, why don’t you come with me and and we’ll do seva together?”

    They went to where everyone drops off their shoes before they go in to the Guru’s presence. Livtar noticed that whenever someone gave their shoes, auntie ji would bow to their shoes before putting them gently in their cubby hole, 

“Auntie ji, you’re so humble, you even bow to people’s shoes.”
“It is an honor to care for the shoes of those who come to bow to their Guru.”

Auntie ji was smiling and glowing. Her eyes twinkled. Livtar remembered how happy she always felt when she was with her.

“Beti may I ask you something.”

“Sure, ask me anything.”

“Do you see that some of the shoes are shiny and new looking?”

“Yes.”

“Do you also see how some people’s shoes are worn out and old looking?”

“Yes.”

“Who do you think is good or bad, the person with the nicer shoes or the person with the dirty shoes?”

“I think a person is good because of who they are, because of what they do, not because they have nice shoes or not.”

“Do you remember the 3 C’s?”

“Ohhh…. that’s right! The three C’s... I think they were… ah… never compare, never compare and never compete. Right?”

“You’re so smart beti! And why do we remember never to do these three things?”

“Because when we do those things it takes away our happiness.”

    Livtar realized something:

“Uhhh… You know Auntie… I’ve been feeling really unhappy these days...”

“Were you doing any of the three C’s…??”
 

Then she remembered Emily’s new pink boots, “Oh my God! I did! I compared my boots to another girl.”

“When you compared, how did it make you feel?”

“I was in a really bad mood all day. It’s really true: comparing took away my happiness!”

“You are learning such an important lesson. What about the next C?”

“Complaining. Yes! I wanted new boots so I complained to my parents. I got grounded and felt even worse.”

“You are so bright. You are on your way to having a much better life. What about the last C?”

“Competing. Yes, of course. Then I decided to beat Emily’s grades. That definitely didn’t make me happy...”

“Those C’s did a lot to take away your happiness, didn’t they?. Did they also affect your relationships?”

    Livtar got really sad… “Yes… I said some things to my parents I shouldn’t have... And Lizzy! She’s my best friend, and for the first time today she’s been cold to me...”

    Auntie caressed her cheek and looked her in the eyes, “My sweet girl, you are full of light. It’s all going to get better now. You know what to do. God bless you to do it. Wahiguru!”  

    Livtar left the gurdwara so inspired! On the ride back she apologized to her parents, “Mata ji, Pita ji. I want to tell you that I don’t care about having nice boots. Shoes don’t make me a better person. You have given me so much. I’m really sorry for complaining and being a brat.” Her Mata Ji comforted her, “Oh sweetie, you don’t need anything to be a good person!” Her Pita Ji said, “We forgive you. We love you very much.”

    That made her feel so much better. She went to bed in a good mood. The next day was rainy and Livtar put on her old boots with a smile, “What do I care what they look like!? They keep my feet dry!"

    At school she ran to find her friend, “Hey Lizzy! Do you want to hang out this weekend???”

“You look happy. Hey! This is the Livtar I know!”

“Well, I learned about the three C’s!”

“The three what?”

“I’ll tell you later. Right now I want to go play in the mud.”

“Whaaat?”

    Livtar jumped in a big puddle splashing mud on Lizzy. They both started laughing and Lizzy jumped right in and splashed her back. They started jumping around in the mud and laughing. Emily walked by and saw them laughing and splashing, “That looks so fun...”

Livtar saw Emily and stepped towards her, “I’m happy that you get good grades. I just didn’t like how you were bragging about it." Emily looked down and said, “...I’m sorry…” Livtar forgave her. Then she saw her old faded boots were now covered in mud, “And one more thing. I’m happy with how my boots look.” 

    Emily looked at her bright clean pink boots and said, “I like how your boots look too!” Livtar replied, “You do??? I’ll help make yours look like mine!”

    Then Livtar jumped in the mud and splashed all over Emily’s boots. Hearing all the laughter, the other girls ran over and joined them and everyone had a great time playing in the mud.

    Livtar learned one of the most important lessons in life. The 3 C’s take away your happiness. However when you don’t compare yourself to others you love who you are, when you don’t compete with others you experience your own power, and when you don’t complain you learn to embrace life.

    The next time Livtar saw Auntie ji, she told her the whole story, “I’m so proud of you. You stopped the three C’s and you got your power back and became yourself again. You’re happy again!” Livtar affirmed, “I never want to compare, compete or complain again! I am going to become a strong women like you someday.”

    Auntie ji gave a final message, “Beti, remember this lesson and you will be even more than me in your life. You are so full of light and you know what to do. God bless you to do it! Wahiguru!”

Storyteller:  Ravi Kaur Khalsa
Topics:  Kaurs, Life Lessons
Age ranges:  13 - 17, 18 and over, 7 - 12