Dr. Buckner Fanning points out that a parable is a short story with a long meaning. He shares this parable, taken directly from Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" comic strip. The first frame shows a dark night, and Snoopy is in the doghouse. He goes to Charlie Brown's front door and kicks it. Charlie Brown looks out the window and says, 'Are you feeling lonely again?" In the next frame Charlie Brown and Snoopy are walking together, and Charlie Brown says to Snoopy "It's a terrible feeling, isn't it?" In the next frame they are both in bed, covers pulled up, as Charlie Brown is obviously trying to comfort his depressed companion, saying, "You wake up in the middle of the night and everything seems hopeless. You're all alone." Snoopy pulls the covers even higher. Charlie Brown says, "You wonder what life is all about and why you're here. Does anyone really care? And you just stare into the dark and feel all alone." In the final frame Snoopy looks at Charlie Brown and longingly asks, "Do we have any night cookies?"
From time to time all of us need some "night cookies." The purpose of this book is to give you some night cookies and persuade you to pass them on to others. Night cookies are essentially lifters or pleasant interludes that are difference makers in people's lives. The American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828 defines difference as "the state of being unlike or distinct; the quality which distinguishes one thing from another." It is a "logical distinction." Distinct means "different, not the same." Logically, we could say it is an essential attribute. A maker is "one who shapes, forms or molds," so a difference maker is one who makes a distinct difference in another by shaping, forming, molding, or influencing.
Sometimes you make a difference in unexpected and unexplained ways. As you read these parables and their applications, you will frequently find yourself saying, "If he can, I can too," "If she can, so can I." That's the first step in becoming a difference maker.
I love the story of the sociology class that studied 200 young boys, most of whom came from the inner city in Baltimore, Maryland. As a result of their study the students came to the same conclusion for each of the boys: "He hasn't got a chance." Twenty-five years later another sociology professor did a follow-up study and was able to locate 180 of the original 200 boys. Of that number, 176 had become doctors, lawyers, successful businessmen, etc. When the question was asked of the men how they had been able to escape their predicted future, they all, in one way or another, said basically the same thing: "There was this teacher..." The professor found the teacher and asked her what she had done to have such an impact on so many of the boys. She simply smiled and said, "I just loved those boys."
My hope is that through this book, you will experience vicariously the love of a number of people as I relate their stories and what they have meant to so many. If you apply what you experience and share your story with me, there is a chance a future book will feature your story.(from the Foreword)
Zig Ziglar is a master storyteller. And Something to Smile About is full of stories--from his own life as well as the lives of others who have shared their inspiring, encouraging experiences with him through the years.
Ziglar says a daily word of encouragement is the fuel of hope. The concepts and messages in Something to Smile About provide that fuel, and you can apply them to challenging situations in your life every day. Families, coworkers, and students can share these positive passages.
You'll read about people with disabilities or disadvantages who overcame all odds to succeed in fields they were once excluded from and about seemingly small efforts that teach lessons of a lifetime. You'll want to return to the touching stories and anecdotes in Something to Smile About again and again. In them, you will find encouragement and motivation that will make a difference in your life. And you'll want to pass on to others the good feelings and valuable lessons you discover.