What I’ve Learned


There were many things that I’ve seen
but none could be more important than
what was in front of me
My DAD worked hard
to provide us with everything,
so I’ve learned to be…
My MOM tended to
my illnesses and injuries,
so I’ve learned to be…
My SISTER had a severe handicap
and dealt with ridicule
so I’ve learned to be…
My WIFE gave hugs with a smile
through all the good and the bad,
so I’ve learned to be…
My DAUGHTER was friendly
to everyone she met
so I’ve learned to be…
My SON sought out things
that were unfamiliar and unknown
so I’ve learned to be…
My DOGS kept me company
when family was not around
so I’ve learned to be…
My FRIENDS were there
to hear every problem and gripe
so I’ve learned to be…
have been with me
through every step of my life
so I’ve learned to be…
These people that I’ve encountered,
made me who I am today
and I’m grateful
for the lessons I’ve learned
through their
unselfish actions.

You’re Grounded! Write Me A Story!


The other day as I was walking through the local mall, I saw a mother unabashedly scolding her son.  He looked like he was about 9 or 10 years of age and completely embarrassed by the staring eyes of the mall’s patrons.

When the mother’s tirade ended, she forcefully grabbed her son’s arm and stormed away.  This scene was reminiscent of my childhood and all I could think of was what was in store for the boy when he gets home.


I remembered whenever I did something bad, my parents would give me a good scolding and ground me.  “YOU CAN’T GO OUT AND PLAY AND NO TV FOR A WEEK!” is what my mom usually bellowed.  Back in my time, this was painful; I didn’t have the luxuries that the kids have nowadays.


Being “grounded” meant just staying in my room doing nothing.  At that time there were no such things as cable TV, cellphones or video games.  All that I could do to pass the time away was listen to AM radio stations (because there weren’t any FM at that time).

Now whenever I did something “REALLY” bad, like playing with matches and burning things, I got a healthy dose of spankings.  My mother would get “the belt” and teach me an unforgettable lesson.


Please don’t think bad of my mom; she’s the most kindest and caring person in the world.  Some of the terrible things I did as a young boy were REALLY BAD…trust me.  Remember, I grew up in a time when this was perfectly acceptable or “PC.”  Your neighbors and even teachers were allowed to do the same if you got way out of line…boy how times have changed.

As I was growing up, I wondered how I would discipline my children if they ever did something bad.  Well, cut to present day…as a parent of two, I decided to go the unconventional route.

When my children were young and did something bad, I made them write me a story and then read it to me and my wife.

“Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write me a story” is what I would tell them.

“What do you want us to write about?” my children would reply.

My answer, “Anything!  Just write me a story!”

For some unknown reason, this punishment really stressed them out.  Secretly I think that they would have rather been scolded or grounded.


For the longest time, they would stare at a blank page and wrack their brains to come up with anything.  Their stories were simple at first but in time, they got to be more and more creative.  Their speaking skills improved as well.

Don’t get me wrong, they still got a good scolding if they did something really bad but I felt that I wanted to try and bring out their creativity at an early age.

This punishment benefitted them during their early school years and were recognized by their teachers whenever we had our annual parent-teacher conference.

Now that my kids are teenagers, this punishment is way too easy for them.  I need to come up with a whole new game plan.  Maybe I’ll make them come up with a dance choreography…yeah, I’ll do that!


Always eat your vegetables.

Wesley was the most fastest, smartest, strongest, energetic student in his whole entire 4th grade class.

If there was a race, Wesley would come in first place. If there was a question that a teacher asked , Wesley would be the first to raise his hands and answer. If there was an arm wrestling contest, Wesley would always win. From the start of the school day till the end of the school day Wesley would be wide awake and ready to do anything.

Everyone in Wesley’s 4th grade class wanted to be like Wesley and they wanted to know what his secret was to being the most fastest, smartest, strongest, and energetic student in all of 4th grade. He didn’t know.

Everyday during lunch, Wesley would be discouraged at what his mom made for him. His lunch was always a sandwich and vegetable sticks. As he ate his lunch, Wesley would remember what his mom always told him, “Don’t forget, always eat your vegetables.”

Wesley looked at the other students and wished he had what they had…pizza, hamburger, fries, potato chips, and candy.

One day Wesley traded his vegetable sticks with Judy and had a pizza slice. It was simply delicious. The next day, Wesley traded his vegetable sticks with Nicky and got a hamburger. It was even more delicious. From then on, Wesley traded his lunch with a different classmate each day, and ate the lunch he always wished for.

After doing this for quite some time, Wesley started to feel sluggish at the start of the school day till the end of the school day. Everyone else moved around him energetically.

Soon Wesley noticed that if there was a race, he was the last to finish. If there was a question a teacher asked, all the other students were quick to raise their hands while he pondered the answer. If there was an arm wrestling contest, he lost.

During lunch break, Wesley started to notice that the other students were eating vegetable sticks with their sandwiches. Not one student was eating what he liked…pizza, hamburger, fries, potato chips, or candy.

Wesley wondered why the other students were eating what he used to eat.

Wesley asked Judy why she had vegetable sticks with her lunch. She replied, “My mom said it’s good for you. It keeps you healthy and makes you strong, smart, and fast.” Wesley turned to Nicky and asked him why he had vegetable sticks with his lunch. He answered, “My mom said the same thing. Vegetables make you strong, smart, and fast.”

Wesley looked at the lunch that his mom made for him. A sandwich and vegetable sticks. He remembered what his mom always told him before school, “Don’t forget, always eat your vegetables.” He soon realized that the reason why he was the fastest, strongest, smartest, and energetic was because he ate his vegetables.

From then on, Wesley never forgot to eat his vegetables.

Mark Kaneshige

“Monsters!!!”…Under The Bed

Quinn was always afraid to go to sleep in his room at night. He thought that the monsters under his bed would grab him once the lights were out.

When he was ready to go to sleep, Quinn would get in his bed and ask his mom or dad to turn off the lights. If he was thirsty at night or needed to go to the bathroom, he would yell for his mom or dad to turn on the lights.

One night, Quinn was tired and ready for bed.

“Mom, I’m in the bed now, can you turn off the lights” yelled Quinn.

His mom stood in the doorway and said, “Quinn, you’re old enough to turn off the lights by yourself.”

“But mom, how will I get in the bed?” asked Quinn.

“What do you mean?” asked his mom.

“If I turn off the lights by myself, the monsters under the bed will grab me before I can get in bed” said a concerned Quinn.

“Nonsense, there are no such things as monsters” said his mom, “now turn off the lights and go to sleep.” With that, his mom walked away leaving Quinn with the dilemma of turning off the light.

Quinn looked at the light switch and then looked at his bed. He searched his room for an answer to his problem…and there it was, his baseball bat.

He hopped into bed and stretched out, with the bat in hand, and used it to turn off the light. CLICK! Victory! With the lights off, Quinn could now go to sleep.

The next night when Quinn was ready for bed, he looked for his bat. It was nowhere to be found.

“Mom have you seen my baseball bat?” shouted Quinn.

His mom stood in the doorway and said, “Oh, I let your cousin Nicky borrow it, he lost his.”

“But mom, I needed the bat to turn off the lights” said Quinn.

“Don’t be silly, just turn it off with your fingers” said his mom. And with that, his mom left.

Quinn looked at his fingers and said, “Nope, I’m not gonna do it.” He looked around his room and gathered up his toys and shoes and brought it onto his bed.

He looked at the light switch and picked up a toy. With careful aim, he threw the toy hoping it would hit the light switch off. SWOOSH, it soared through the air and…WHACK! It missed.

Quinn threw another toy…WHACK! He missed again.

He threw another toy and another and another…WHACK, WHACK, WHACK! No luck. He decided to use his sneakers.

This time Quinn went toward the edge of his bed, took careful aim and…SWOOSH! The shoes soared through the air and hit the light switch off. Quinn smiled and went to bed.

Just then, the lights came back on. “Young man, what are you doing?” angrily said his mom.

“I didn’t have my bat, so I used my shoes to turn off the lights” said a proud Quinn.

“Don’t do this again. Tomorrow night you use your fingers and turn off the lights like a normal person” said his mom.

“But mom, if I do that I won’t have time to get in the bed. The monsters’ll grab me!” Quinn said.

“There are no monsters under your bed!” said his mom, “Now go to sleep and don’t let this happen again.”

CLICK! His mom turned off the lights. Quinn laid in his bed with a look of concern.

“How am I gonna turn off the lights with my hand and get into bed before the monsters grab me?” Quinn pondered. His eyes lit up and he said with a smile, “Yes, I got it!”

The next night came and Quinn was ready for bed. He got four chairs and lined them up in a row. It went from the light switch to his bed.

Quinn got up on the first chair, that was near the door, and turned off the light. CLICK! He proceeded to the second chair and the third.

Because it was dark, Quinn almost lost his balance, “Whew! That was close” said Quinn. He slowly and carefully stepped onto the fourth and final chair and then finally plopped onto his bed.

Quinn smiled with pride knowing that he found a way to turn off the lights with his hand and get on the bed out of the monsters’ reach.

The next night came and Quinn prepared for bed, he walked into his room and saw that the chairs were gone.

“Mom!” yelled Quinn.

His mom rushed into his room, “What’s wrong?”

“What happened to the chairs I had here in my room?” asked Quinn.

“Why do you need the chairs?” asked his mom.

“I use the chairs to turn off the lights with my hand” said Quinn, “and then I walk on top of it to get to my bed. The monsters can’t get me.”

“There are no such things as monsters under the bed” said his mom, “turn off the lights like a normal person and walk into your bed. Do you understand?”

Quinn lowered his head and answered, “Yes, I understand.”

And with that, his mom left.

Quinn put his hand on the light switch and stretched his body toward his bed. He stretched and stretched and stretched and stretched but no luck. So close but yet so far.

“How am I gonna get into bed?” wondered Quinn.

He thought and thought and thought and then finally he got an answer.

“I know, I’ll run and jump into bed. If I run fast enough, the monsters won’t be able to grab me.”

With his hand on the switch, Quinn got into a runner’s stance. He counted, “One…two…THREE!”

CLICK! Off went the lights.

Quinn made a dash for his bed. Just before he could jump into bed, Quinn tripped over one of his toys.

KA-THUD! Quinn falls onto the floor, a few inches from his bed.

“OH NO! THE MONSTERS ARE GOING TO GET ME!” screamed Quinn. Frightened of what’s to come, he shuts his eyes.

A couple of seconds past, and then another, and then another. Quinn slowly opens his eyes and sees the underneath of his bed. There’s nothing but empty space.

Quinn smiles and chuckles to himself.

Just then…CLICK! the lights go on. “

Quinn what’s wrong? Why did you scream?” asked his mom.

“Oh nothing. I just slipped and fell when I was getting into bed” said Quinn.

“Are you alright?” his mom asked.

“I’m fine!” exclaimed Quinn, “I just need some sleep.” “

Okay then, get into bed and I’ll turn off the lights” said his mom.

Quinn stood up, grinned and proudly said, “That’s okay mom, I can turn off the lights by myself!”

His mom asked, “Aren’t you worried about the monsters under the bed?”

CLICK! Quinn turned off the lights and got into bed and said to his mom, “There are no such things as monsters under the bed. Good night.”

Mark Kaneshige

How to make a good mudpie better.

Judy liked playing with mud, not in the mud mind you, but with the mud. She especially liked making mudpies. And she was real good at it.

On sunny days, Judy pulled out her little cart of supplies into her backyard and studied the dirt. She would grab a handful of dirt and feel it to see if it was the right texture and temperature for making mudpies.

“This is perfect” said Judy.

She would take an empty pail and shovel from her cart and fill it up with dirt. She would then add some water from a bottle into the pail and mix it with her long wooden spoon.

Judy would take the pail of mud over to a sunny flat section of the backyard and carefully spooned out some mud onto the ground. She always made four round mudpies because she liked the number four.

“I wish there was some way I could make my mudpies better” said Judy.

With that, she stepped back and let the sun bake her mudpies. While waiting for her pies to bake, Judy would smell the flowers, shoot some colored marbles, and play in the sandbox.

After doing all those things, Judy went to check on her mudpies. She always inspected it carefully before touching them.

“It’s ready” she said.

Judy picked up her mudpies and carried it over to a box labelled “Judy’s pies”. She opened it and put the mudpies in with her other collection of mudpies.

She stared at her collection long and hard and thought to herself, “There must be a way to make my mudpies better.”

She thought and thought and thought but could not come up with an idea. Feeling frustrated, Judy went into the house to find an answer.

She went into the kitchen where her mother was putting the finishing touches on a cake.

Judy noticed her mother placing some candy flowers and gumballs around the edges of the cake.  She then threw some candy sprinkles in the middle for color.

Her mother showed Judy the cake and asked her, “How do you like the way this cake looks?”

“Wow, it looks pretty” replied Judy.

After watching her mom decorate the cake, Judy got an idea.

“That’s what I’ll do” exclaimed Judy. She then ran out to the backyard.

Judy was hard at work making her mudpies. Before setting her pies out in the sun to bake, she picked some flowers, grabbed her marbles, and got some sand from the sandbox.

When she set her mudpies on the flat ground, Judy did exactly what her mom did when decorating the cake.

Flowers and marbles were place on the edges of the pie and sand was sprinkled in the middle for a little color.

While the sun baked her mudpies, Judy did not smell the flowers, shoot her marbles, or play in the sandbox, instead she went to “Judy’s pies” box.

She took out her mudpies and brought them over to the dirt section one by one. When she was finished, she went to check her other mudpies.

Judy carefully inspected her new mudpies and then picked them up. She carried them and placed them into “Judy’s pies” box. She looked at her creation but didn’t smile.

She ran into the house and came out with a pen. She scribbled something on the box and then stepped back. “Judy’s cakes” was now written on the box.

“There, that’s better” said Judy with a big smile. She looked at her colorful mudcakes and said, “Now that’s how to make a good mudpie better.”

Mark Kaneshige