Livia came home
from school, she
was quite sad.
In the family prayers, she had learned that we should
always do good. So whenever she had a chan-ce to be
useful, Livia would seize it.
Sometimes it would be an old lady with heavy bags that
she would help. At other times it was a visually
impaired person who wanted to cross the street, and the
girl would readily take them by the arm and lead them
safely to the other side. And so she always acted
willingly: when a child fell down she would run to help;
she would release a kite that had been stuck on a tree
branch, talk to someone sad, teach the subject of a
lesson to classmates who did not understand it and much
more. And because of her attitude, everyone loved her.
One day, Livia saw a puppy that jumping from garbage bag
to garbage bag had fallen into a large trash can. She
had no doubts! She ran
and helped the little dog.
His owner, a girl who was walking right behind them, did
not like Livia's attitude.
- But why? Livia asked her - Your puppy could get hurt
in the trash which is always full of shards of glass and
- He had to learn his lesson! So, next time, he would
not put his nose in the trash! Do not think I'll be
grateful to you.
Grabbing the puppy, she pressed him to her chest and
walked away, conceitedly.
Thus arriving home, Livia was sad. For the first time,
someone did not like her goodwill attitude.
- What happened, honey? - her mother asked.
- Nothing, Mom.
Livia did not want to talk about it. But she could not
forget what had happened. She was very sad that night
and as she laid down in bed her mother insisted so Livia
started to tell her what had happened.
- A girl was ungrateful to me, Mom! - she said in tears.
The mother laid with her and, hugging her, asked her:
- Tell me what happened, darling. Sharing our pain makes
it smaller. Besides, maybe I can help you…
So Livia told her mother what had occurred and concluded
- That’s what happened.
- Is that it? But where is the problem?
- The problem, Mom, is that I did what I could to help,
and she was ungrateful to me! I'm seriously thinking of
not helping anyone else!
The mother hugged her daughter even more affectionately,
- Livia, if she has shown ingratitude, it is her
problem, dear, not yours. Did you help the puppy to
receive his owner's thank you?
- Of course not, Mom!
- You did what you thought you should do, didn’t you?
- I did.
- Every time you helped someone, did you expect to
- So you've done your best in every situation. If this
girl did not recognise it, it's her problem! When we do
good, we cannot expect recognition from people,
otherwise it will seem that there is pride and
selfishness on our part; or that we have done that good
deed to get gratitude, to be seen. Do you understand?
It's as if we were saying: Look how generous I am!
- I got it, Mom. You are completely right. Tomorrow I
will leave the house and do as I’ve always done because
it makes me feel good and because I like to help other
The mother gave her daughter a big hug and, after their
prayer, Livia fell asleep contentedly.
Célia Xavier de
Johnny Silveira / firstname.lastname@example.org