Stories connect us to the time-tested wisdom of the world's peoples--and teach spiritual and moral lessons we want to pass on to our kids. Each week, Beliefnet will present a spiritual story from a different faith tradition, followed by simple activities that bring the message home. We invite you to share the stories with your children, do the activities together, and make "Teaching Tales" a joyous part of family life.

Reprinted with permission from "How the Children Became Stars" by Aaron Zerah, published by Sorin Books.

Nasreddin brought a bow and arrows with him to the country fair. His students all came to see Nasreddin compete in the archery contest.

Like all other contestants, Nasreddin was given three shots at the target. Before he took his first shot, Nasreddin put on the kind of hat a soldier wears and stood up very straight. Then he pulled the bow back hard and fired. The arrow sailed over the target. Nasreddin missed the target completely, and everyone in the crowd laughed at him.

Nasreddin picked up the bow once more and drew it back. This time he used much less strength, and although the arrow flew straight at the target, it fell far short of it.

Nasreddin only had his third shot left. He simply turned to face the target and fired the third arrow. It hit dead center!

For a moment everyone in the whole crowd went crazy! Then, so surprised were they that the man they had laughed at had made a perfect last shot, they became totally silent.

Nasreddin made no fuss at all. He went over to get his prize for winning the contest and started walking away. But Nasreddin's students and everyone else wanted to know how he made the last shot after not even having come close with the first two.

"I'll tell you," Nasreddin said. "For the first shot I was imagining I was a soldier and a terrible enemy faced me. Fear caused the arrow to fly high over the target. When I took the second shot I was thinking like a man who had missed the first one and was so nervous he could not concentrate. He was weak with worry, and the shot was too."

Nasreddin paused. Finally a courageous soul spoke up. "And what about the third one? Who fired that arrow?"

"Oh," said Nasreddin. "That was me!"

Bringing It Home

To Do This Week

Draw a big circle on a special piece of paper. Make seven sections in the circle so it looks like this:

You are going to complete a holy work of art--a mandala. In each of five of the sections, write or draw something you feel is true about yourself. Feel free to use different colors, different symbols, different designs and words. Write or draw as big or as small as you want.

Think about one thing that is only true about you and no one else. Write or draw that in the sixth section.

Is there someone you dream of being? In the last section, describe or draw your dream. You have now completed your very own mandala. Share your mandala with the family.
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