The Panda’s Excuse. When a panda forgets to gather bamboo for the family. it makes up a lie to excuse its distraction. But the panda learns that lies create more trouble, and honesty is always the best solution.
Make your child the main character. Replace this (_____) with your child’s name.
The Panda’s Excuse
Halfway up a tall mountain in China, _____ the Panda was playing toss and catch with his friend, Pongo.
Trudging downhill on the main path, _____ father appeared. “Time to come home, my boy.” _____ waved goodbye to Pongo.
And he walked with his father to their home, all the way back up to the peak.
As they strolled together, they talked about the dinner they were looking forward to eating that evening.
“A pile of bamboo as big as a house!” said _____.
“Maybe even a pile of bamboo as big as a country!” said his father.
But when they arrived, Dean’s mother looked worried. “All the bamboo has been used up!” she said. “There is none left here.”
“Oh dear,” said his father. “There was plenty growing near Pongo’s home.”
“Wasn’t there, _____?”
“Yes!” he said. “I’ll go back and fetch some.” He was excited to show his parents how helpful he could be.
When _____ arrived at Pongo’s house, ready to pick some bamboo leaves, he spotted the ball from earlier.
“Hmm…” he said to himself. “A minute or two of playing won’t be any problem.”
He began bouncing the ball against a tree.
Suddenly, a squawking sound came from within the leaves, and a colorful bird stuck its head out of the tree.
“Excuse me,” said the bird, “but would you mind not bouncing that ball at my nest while I’m sleeping?!”
“I’m so sorry!” said _____. “I had no idea you were in there.” He thought for a moment, then added, “Would you like to play?”
The bird smiled and nodded, and they started playing.
They threw the ball back and forth, played hide and seek, and ran races across the forest floor.
_____ was having so much fun that he didn’t notice the sun beginning to set.
“Oh no!” he said, “I didn’t pick any bamboo!”
Just then, _____ father appeared from the mountain path. “Where have you been?” he asked. “Your mother and I have been worried!”
He folded his arms. Oh dear, thought _____. He didn’t want to get into trouble, so he quietly nudged the ball behind a bush.
“I… well…erm… There was a snow leopard,” he lied. “It chased me, and I ran away, and then I dropped the leaves.”
Immediately, _____ father scooped him onto his back and ran quickly through the forest, all the way to the very top peak.
When they arrived, he called out to his wife, “Pack your things! We need to leave the mountain!”
“What do you mean?” _____ mother asked. “Why should we leave our home?”
_____ father looked serious. “_____ saw a snow leopard. It chased him. It’s not safe for us to stay here any longer.
A guilty, uncomfortable feeling began to grow in the pit of _____ stomach. He looked down at the ground.
“I don’t want to leave the mountain,” he said. “My best friend Pongo lives here, and my new friend, the bird.”
_____ mother shook her head. “Safety always comes first, my child.”
“Oh, but…,” he said as he drew circles in the dirt with his toe. “But there isn’t a leopard around here…”
His father crossed his arms, shook his head, and said, “What do you mean, son?”
_____ became sad and said, “I… I wanted to gather bamboo, but I got distracted and lost track of time.”
Both parents looked cross. Their son took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry that I lied!” he said. “I just didn’t want to get into trouble.”
“But look at the trouble that your lie has caused!” said his father.
“We nearly left our home!” said his mother.
“I should have just told the truth,” _____ said sadly as he plopped down on a nearby bench.
“Making up an excuse only made things worse. I promise this won’t happen ever again.”
“Okay, _____,” said his mother. “We all make mistakes. It’s better to be honest about those mistakes, rather than telling a lie.”
His father unfolded his arms. “You must go first thing in the morning to collect the bamboo. As soon as the sun comes up.”
“I will, Father,” he said. “I’ll pick a pile of bamboo as big as a house. Maybe as big as a country!”
The whole family smiled.
As the three pandas huddled together on the mountain top, _____ was grateful for his parents’ forgiveness and understanding.