Doug the Slug

Most nights our bedtime routine includes a story. My two older boys are pretty tough critics, and it’s difficult to come up with something original night after night. If the story is “lame” or “boring,” they’re quick to tell me! You’ve got to have pretty thick skin to tell a story to Cooper and Connor.

I try to tell them stories with a moral to teach them a lesson about life and faith, because that’s the way Jesus taught and it seemed to work, because we’re still telling His stories 2000 years later! One story that seemed to get them thinking and hold their attention was the tale of “Doug the Slug.

I’d been having a conversation with my boys where they brought up things they didn’t like about themselves and things they didn’t like about each other. It hurt my heart to hear them talking like this, because as their Dad, I want them to love themselves and love each other! Sadly, many of us never outgrow those insecurities about ourselves or prejudices about one another, so I told them this story…

There was once a slug named “Doug.” 

He wanted to be more like his friends Gary the Grasshopper who could jump high or Betty the Butterfly who could fly and had beautiful colors, but Doug wasn’t a butterfly or a grasshopper. Doug was a slug.

When Doug looked at himself, all he saw was slime. Slugs, after all, are pretty slimy. Doug was convinced that he would never accomplish much of anything, because of how he was made. Sometimes other bugs would make fun of him for being so slimy, and he would hang his head low while they laughed. 

One day, Doug heard his friends Gary the Grasshopper and Betty the Butterfly screaming for help. The giant spider who lived in their tree had caught them in his web and he was walking towards them to eat them. They were so afraid.

Doug was afraid too, but he knew he had to do something to help his friends. He thought to himself, “I’m just a slimy slug. I can’t do anything to help them!”

But then, Doug thought of something he had never thought of before.

He crawled as fast as he could go (which for a slug, isn’t very fast) to the web, and without thinking about his own safety, he bravely jumped on his friends and started covering them with his slime which made them so slippery, they were able to get free from the web! The spider angrily ran towards Doug, but the spider slipped on the slime and fell out of the tree all the way down the ground below.

Doug the Slug became a hero! He had saved his friends. All the bugs who used to make fun of him started trying to hang out with him so they could get some of his “famous slime” on themselves. That day, for the first time, Doug realized he had been created for a purpose, and from then on, every time he looked down at his slime, he smiled. 

The end.

The moral of the story is that God has created each of us to be a unique masterpiece and He loves us (so we should love ourselves) just the way we are! You are a masterpiece. :)

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

4 Traits of Happy Families

No family is perfect. We tend to think other families are more perfect than our own, because all we see are their “highlight reels” on facebook and Instagram, but in truth, all families have struggles. A “perfect family” is just an imperfect group of people who refuse to give up on each other!

Though no family is truly “perfect,” there are many families who are truly happy. As I’ve studied marriages and family dynamics, I’ve found some traits happy families seem to share. This is definitely not a comprehensive list, and these don’t necessarily apply to every family, but I’m convinced that this list is a great starting point for any family who wants to take their health and happiness to a new level.

family silhouette

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1. Happy families create and celebrate traditions.

Family traditions can give a sense of security and healthy pride. In our family, those traditions can be small things like eating Mexican food after church on Sundays and big things like our tradition of honoring the birthday boy or girl by going around the dinner table and all sharing something significant we love and cherish about that person. Be intentional about creating and celebrating traditions (both big and small).

2. Happy families strive for unity, not uniformity.

It’s so important that a family be unified around a shared set of defining principles, but it’s also important that each individual in the family has the opportunity to express their God-given individuality. Happy families aren’t a collection of clones who all look, act and think the exact same way; they are are a group of diverse individuals unified by love, respect and commitment to one another.

3. Happy families prioritize communication.

Communication does for a family what breathing does for lungs. Make it a priority to communicate regularly around meal tables. Leave handwritten notes for each other. Send text messages throughout the day, but be willing to turn off the electronics at night. Plan activities like a family “Game Night” or any activity to spark conversation.

4. Happy families encourage much more than they criticize. 

There is definitely a time and place for constructive criticism in families, but happy families have found that encouragement can bring positive improvements much more effectively than constant criticism. Encouragement also fosters an atmosphere of safety and security for each person in the home.

For additional marriage and family-building resources, check out our 2-minute video on How to bring more FUN to your Family and read our bestselling book, iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage which is also now available on iTunes for download on iPhones and iPads.