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This is Johnny, and he’s going to tell you a story about a disastrous fire that destroyed his family home and forced him to change his outlook on life.
When he was just 13, Johnny’s family lived in a small but beautiful house. They had good relationships and loved each other, and also, they loved all the things they had there.
It may sound weird to use the word “love” when it’s about things, but there’s no other way to effectively describe it. For example, Johnny’s books, his gaming console and the games for it, his clothes and old toys – all of that stuff really mattered to him. One glance at any one of the things he owned could fill him with warm memories of a particular time.
Those things helped him to cope with his problems and to escape from his ordinary life.
“One day, when Johnny came home from school, he discovered that something terrible had happened. His family home was on fire, and there were firefighters trying to put the blaze out, but it was already too late – there was nothing that could be done to save it. The firefighters explained that it wasn’t their fault – it had something to do with faulty wiring, and they couldn’t have done anything to prevent it.
It’s weird, but it’s hard to process something like that – you don’t immediately start to think about it like it’s a real thing with consequences. You need time to get your head around it.
Johnny and his family didn’t have much time to be sad. They had to find a new temporary place to live, and to talk to different officials and sign documents.
And only then, when they were alone in their small temporary apartment on the outskirts of town, everything started to sink in. They had lost so much. Johnny would never see his old toys or childhood drawings again, and all his favorite books and games had been destroyed. It’s not like he had owned a lot of things, but they were important to him.
And his parents didn’t feel much better – their days consisted of endless planning, like what to do next and how to get back to a normal life. Maybe they would sell the family car, start using the bus, and try to get more money for a new house. Everything that formed part of Johnny’s hobbies had been destroyed. He felt a strange mix of fear, boredom, and sadness…
And then, his parents started fighting. Looking back on it, Johnny understands now that they were nervous and tired, but at the time he wanted to run away from it all, he didn’t want to hear it. But you can’t help seeing it when you have only one room to live in.
Eventually, he grew tired of just boiling in this soup of anger and despair, so he went outside to do…something! He couldn’t see his friends because they were too far away from him. So he had to improvise.
He climbed some trees, went for a walk near the river, drew a map of everything around him. For a few hours, he completely forgot about all the misfortunes his family and he had had to endure, and had fun the same way he did when he was a little boy. Eventually, Johnny got to know the other kids in the area, and funnily enough, they thought he was very cool after telling his story…
But he still felt quite sorry for his parents, who had to go to work and buy him food and solve other problems. He asked if he could start working himself and help out a bit, but honestly, how much can a 13-year-old boy really earn?
Johnny felt useless, and he didn’t like it. He wanted to do something.
Before he enjoyed his world of games and books, and he never let anyone into it. Now, this place where he lived had become his new escape from his problems. Suddenly, he thought to himself – maybe my parents also need something like this? Sure, it won’t magically solve all our problems, but perhaps if they saw how beautiful this place is and had just one happy day, it would make it a bit better for them?
So one day, he gave his parents a map he had made earlier and proposed to go on a tour of the area. His dad was very reluctant, but his mom liked the idea, and so eventually, they agreed. As they walked through the streets, he saw smiles on their faces for the first time in a long time. His dad even tried to climb a tree with him, but he wasn’t very successful!
After this, they slowly started to rebuild their family. They saw how beautiful their new home was, and decided to try to buy a house there. They told him that he could help by getting good grades (typical parents). Three years have passed since then, and they finally have a new place and new things to love. But they don’t rely on material possessions for happiness so much now.
From all of this, Johnny learned that while things are important, it’s more important to be a strong and interesting person no matter what. His dad later said, “you know, I’m glad it happened to us, because it made us so much stronger.” And Johnny agrees.
Music by Epidemic Sound: