Chapter 3 of 3: Remember sixth grader Jackie who met the Ancient One in the clearing in the woods? We are now going to hear a story about when Little Jackie got her call to adventure. See if you can figure out whether she accepted or refused her call to adventure.
Hero’s Journey story: Little Jackie receives her ‘call to adventure’
© 2001 by Debbie Dunn
- Click HERO’S JOURNEY TALE HUB to read the previous two chapters of the Jackie tale called “Little Jackie receives her ‘call to adventure’.”
Chapter 3: Little Jackie learns how to be Master of her Life
The next day was Saturday. Little Jackie decided to go for a walk. She really needed to think.
Jackie exclaimed to herself, “Boy, do I feel used by Suzy! She borrowed stuff and never returned any of it except my text books. She was mean to me at the dance. And I bet she’ll be just as nice as anything on Monday so that she can get some more stuff from me. What a user! And what a dupe I am!”
Feeling sad and rather confused, Jackie walked along without really noticing where she was going. Suddenly, she was standing at the outskirts of that wooded area. Her heart skipped a double beat. She thought, “Maybe I can meet up with the Ancient One again. I sure could use some advice.”
Jackie tried hard to retrace her steps to that clearing with the rocks and small boulders. Sure enough, she found it. And thankfully, sitting on top of one of the largest of the rocks, was the Ancient One.
The Ancient One smiled and exclaimed, “Welcome back, Jackie. I heard your call.”
Jackie ran up to give the Ancient One a hug. The old woman opened up her arms to Jackie and cuddled her for a bit. Jackie said, “Ancient One, I am so glad to see you. I’m feeling confused again.” Jackie then pulled back and told her all about it.
The Ancient One sat silently and then said, “It sounds like you are feeling like a martyr.”
“What do you mean?” Jackie asked. “I wasn’t making any great sacrifices. Well, not really. I was doing some things to help Suzy out.”
The Ancient One asked, “Jackie, what was your purpose in helping Suzy out?”
Jackie thought. “Well, the first day, when I loaned Suzy my English book and then my math book, it was no problem. I felt good about it. And she was friendly to me for the first time ever and even introduced me to her brother.”
The Ancient One asked, “So up to that point, you had no ulterior motive?”
“What do you mean by ulterior motives?” Jackie asked.
The Ancient One smiled kindly and said, “I mean you weren’t loaning her these things in order to get anything from her? You were simply being nice?”
“Yeah! I think so,” Jackie thought and then said with more confidence, “Yeah! I was just helping out. I didn’t need the books at the moment. And as long as she gave them back, it felt okay.”
The old woman asked, “What about the next few days?”
Jackie said, “Well, Suzy started asking for more and more stuff. The books were still okay. But she started borrowing pencils that I never got back, paper that I never got back, and worst of all, money that she never paid back. Also, she often would ask to copy my homework.”
The Ancient One asked, “Jackie, why didn’t you say no?”
Jackie admitted, “Well, I was afraid to.”
The Ancient One probed, “What were you afraid of?”
Jackie said, “Well, I was afraid she wouldn’t be my friend anymore. Plus, I was hoping she would tell her brother that I was really nice, and he might start to like me.”
The Ancient One smiled and said, “Jackie — that’s what I mean by having ulterior motives. You were being nice in hopes of sort of ‘buying‘ Suzy’s friendship and in the hopes her older brother would like you. Do you see what I mean?”
Jackie nodded. She said, “Yeah! I get it. Yeah, that’s exactly what I did. But is that so wrong?”
The old woman smiled. “No, it’s not wrong as long as you are feeling totally good about the decisions you are making. If you can do these nice things and it doesn’t matter to you whether or not they do nice things back, then you are being the master of your own life. But if you do these nice things in hopes of somebody doing nice things back, then you are choosing to feel like a martyr when he or she doesn’t live up to your expectations.”
Teacher Says or Asks: What did the Ancient One mean when she questioned Jackie about having ‘ulterior motives‘?
Students Respond: (The Ancient One was questioning whether Jackie was only loaning Suzy all those things simply to sort of ‘buy’ her friendship plus to try to get Suzy’s big brother, Adam, to like her.)
Jackie complained, “Well, I don’t feel good about doing those nice things anymore. Last night, at the school dance, Suzy totally ignored me. Plus, she snubbed me in front of her friends when I tried to talk to her in the bathroom. And of course, Adam never looked in my direction even once. And I bet anything that Suzy will be all ‘sweetzie, sweetzie‘ to me on Monday or the next time she needs to ‘borrow‘ something or wants to copy my homework. Plus, I’ll bet she’ll have a darn good excuse to make if I bring up what happened last night.” Jackie looked like she could easily break into tears.
The Ancient One smiled with compassion. Gently, she said, “It sounds like you are not only choosing to feel like a martyr, you are also choosing to buy into being a victim again.”
Jackie sat up straight. She exclaimed, “No, I don’t want to be a victim or a martyr. What do I do, please?”
The Ancient One countered her question with a question. She asked, “How do you think you can not feel like a victim?”
Jackie did not have to think too long. She said, “Well, I need to remember that I am extraordinary. The friends who like me are extraordinary. My family is extraordinary. And I guess, even Suzy and her brother are extraordinary. I feel better now, in a way. But I still don’t think I get how NOT to feel like a martyr.”
The Ancient One said, “When someone asks you for a favor, you should only say yes if you will feel totally good about granting it no matter what their future reactions and actions will be toward you. But if you suspect that you will feel like you made an unappreciated sacrifice that got you nothing in return, you should have the courage to kindly but firmly say no. Otherwise, you will just feel like a martyr and allow yourself to feel upset and used.”
Jackie said, “Okay, I get what you’re saying, Ancient One. But …”
“But what?” the old woman asked.
“Well, it’s not easy saying no.” Jackie said.
The Ancient One asked, “What are you afraid of?”
Jackie said, “I’m afraid they won’t be my friend anymore if I say no.”
The Ancient One asked, “Jackie, are they truly your friend if they will only like you if you give them things?”
Jackie responded, “Well, no, I guess not.”
The Ancient One said, “Jackie, if someone will only be your friend if you loan or give that person things, he or she is obviously not appreciating what an extraordinary person you are. You need to hold on to that knowledge that you are truly extraordinary. Then, remember that you should only grant people the favors they ask if you truly have a give-and-take friendship.”
Seeing Jackie’s puzzled look, the Ancient One explained, “If you know that your friend will help you out sometimes, and you can help him or her out sometimes, that is what I mean by a give-and-take friendship. To say yes to a friend like that will probably feel good. You are not being a martyr then. You are simply being a good friend. But if you say no to someone who does not see what an extraordinary person you are, there is no great loss on your part. You are simply making certain that you will not feel like a martyr. Instead, you are choosing to keep control of your life by being a master of your own life.”
Jackie said, “So let me see if I understand. To be a master of my own life, I should only say yes to true friends and say no to all the others. If I say yes to someone who I know is simply trying to use me, then I am choosing to feel like a martyr when his or her future actions make me feel upset in some way. Is that it?”
“Exactly!” the Ancient One smiled.
Jackie thought and then said, “So what do I do with Suzy when she next asks me to borrow stuff?”
The Ancient One asked, “What do you think?”
Jackie said, “Well, I don’t mind too much loaning her my book if her locker gets jammed. But I don’t feel happy loaning her anything else. So I guess I’ll say no to loaning out paper or pencils or money or to letting her copy my homework. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but I know I can handle it. Besides, she’ll probably stop asking after I say no a time or two. I wonder if I should mention her actions Friday night?”
The Ancient One asked, “Would it make you feel better or worse to do that?”
Jackie thought and said, “I think it would be too icky. I think I’ll just concentrate on not being a victim or a martyr and pay attention to the future rather than worry about the past.”
The Ancient One said, “Excellent, Jackie. You have the right idea.” Then she got up, hugged Jackie good-bye, and said, “We will be seeing each other again, Extraordinary Jackie.”
Little Jackie smiled and waved. She too got up and headed toward home. She had the idea now. She was determined to be neither victim nor martyr. Instead, Jackie planned to stay focused on being Extraordinary and the Master of her Own Life.
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