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The Minnie Stories

Cleaning Up Your Act - Part 13

Dain And Toby - A Different Point Of View

I collected Dain from reception class today, while Maha was visiting Laith again. Anyway, she held my hand as usual, but seemed a bit quiet.

“Are you alright, Bubbelah?”, I asked her.

She just nodded, but didn’t say anything. So I waited, as we walked along.

“Would you like to go to the park today? Some of your friends might be there.”

“Only if Toby isn’t there”, she muttered, her face frowning, her bottom lip sticking out fiercely.

So we walked home, and went into mine, and I made her some sandwiches and a glass of juice; and I thought about what she’d said…..

“Okay….so what’s going on with this Toby? He’s in your class?”

She nodded.


“And he’s horrible!”

I ask you - what do you say….? Kids can be very ‘black and white’ about things, can’t they?

She was fiddling with the little L-shaped corners of the sandwich crusts she’d left on her plate; so I poured myself a cup of tea, and sat across from her at the kitchen table.

“Sometimes Dain, people, even grown up ones, can do things which make us think they’re horrible. But you know something…….what they do is not who they are. So Toby might have done something you didn’t like, but that doesn’t mean he’s not really a nice boy inside, does it?”

She shrugged, but was looking at me like she wanted to hear more.

“If you like, “ I said casually, “we can play a game that’s all about this sort of thing………..?”

“All right, Auntie Minnie”.

“Come on then……let’s get three cushions from the sofa, and put them on the floor.”

She looked wonderingly at me, her eyes huge and round.

“Are you sure that’s alright? They might get dirty!”

“What?! You’re saying my floor is dirty?!” And we both laughed. So we went into the lounge, and I let her choose three cushions (and naturally, she took the nice embroidered ones I got from the Kaleidoscope catalogue!)

“Right”, I said. “If one of these cushions is going to be you, which one is it?”

Dain looked at them, and waved the one with the butterfly on it.

“So let’s put that on the floor somewhere”, and she placed it next to the sofa.

“Now, which one is going to be Toby?”

“He can be the dog”, she said. “Shall I put him on the floor as well?”

“Yes, Bubbelah……and maybe across there, by the TV?”

“I’ve still got the elephant cushion Auntie Minnie……who’s that going to be?”

“Oh…….let me see. Maybe the elephant could be a really wise person who could help us sort this out. So let’s put that one down sort of between the other two, but a bit further away”.

Dain put it down on the floor, making kind of a triangle shape with the three cushions.

“That’ll be you, if I need you!”, she replied briskly. Well that’s telling me, I thought, trying to hide a smile. I ask you, outspoken or what? ‘On the lung, on the tongue’, as my Bubba used to say!

“Okay, Dain, let’s start the magic part of the game! Come and stand here, by the butterfly cushion, and be you.. I think you’re very good at being Dain, aren’t you?” She giggled. “Right, Dain…….tell me what’s going on with you and Toby”.

“He’s just horrible! He doesn’t play nicely, he doesn’t share his toys and stuff, he shouts and doesn’t care if he scares me and the others……”

“Okay. So now tell me three things you like about Toby”.

She looked surprised, and then said

“Well........ he loves his dog……… and his baby brother……and he’s good at drawing”.

“Great, Dain”, I said. “You see, I knew you were brilliant at being you! Now, would you like to have a go at being the elephant?”

“No thank you, Auntie Minnie, I don’t need you now!”.

“Fine! Then let’s go to the dog cushion, shall we?” We walked over to it together. “Now, guess who you’re going to be when you’re standing here...?”

Her voice was a bit unsure; “Toby?”

“That’s right, darling! So tell me Toby…” ,I began, and she giggled and said

“I’m not really Toby, am I, Auntie Minnie? I’m really me pretending to be Toby, aren’t I?”

“of course you are! So tell me Toby, what’s been going on with you and Dain?”

And you know something… ? Sure, she kept giggling, but she came up with a completely different point of view of the problem! And what’s more, when I said to her

“Okay Toby, so tell me three things you like about Dain”, she came up with three lovely things about herself - but from Toby’s point of view!!

“So let’s go back to our butterfly cushion, now”, I said.

“Am I me again now, Auntie Minnie?”

“Yes darling. So tell me…. what do you think about this whole Toby situation now?”

And that’s when the real magic happened, as far as I’m concerned - because she looked at me thoughtfully, and said quietly, but surely

“I think Toby’s not really horrible inside, Auntie Minnie. I think it’s just that he doesn’t know how to make friends…….”

Maha came and picked her up a little while after that, and asked me if I’d like to come in for a cup of tea with her before I went to the offices.

So I did….and she told me that Bob had been to visit Laith already! So we’re sitting drinking our tea, and there’s Dain, across the other side of their front room, with two dolls and a teddy bear sat round a little coffee table:- and she’s explaining to them how to be friends with each other……..!

Maha smiled, watching Dain, and said to me

“Wonderful, isn’t it? Honestly, Minnie, sometimes I don’t know where she gets these ideas!”

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Cleaning Up Your Act

Introduction To The Story Collection

The Minnie Kerchevsky Stories

Real wisdom can often be found in the most unlikely places....not from teachers, coaches, professors and so on, but from ordinary people who have their own life experiences to draw on to help others.

Cleaning Up Your Act is a collection of the stories of one of these very special people.........

Minnie Kerchevsky is a so-called ‘ordinary woman’, a cleaner, a 'daily', with no pretensions, no super-ego... just a desire to make things better in any way she can; helping those around her to “clean up their acts” in her own unique and heart-warming way!

Minnie believes that what stops us being happy is thinking we don’t have choices - and that feel-good is a state of mind we can always choose to be in!

So in ‘Cleaning Up Your Act’, we gradually learn about Minnie’s own life and events - and how she dealt with challenges and learned how to see raindrops as sunbeams in disguise! - interwoven through the stories she shares about the people she impacts with the homespun wisdom that is the essence of who and how she is, because of who and how she has been.

Each of us has met Minnie, or someone like her, in our lives... and if we haven’t, we’re the poorer for it - so here’s our chance to put that right!


The Collection

1. Minnie >>

2. The Miriam Part Of Me >>

3. Melanie From Accounts >>

4. Getting It Off My Chest >>

5. Kids! >>

6. The Man On The Stairs >

7. Fat Chance! - My Lady In Chelsea >>

8. Having A Minnie Break >>

9. Thank You Terry Wogan >>

10. Maps! >>


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