Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

Zach’s Adventure

In a way, this is a first guest post by my son, Isaac.  Every year at his school, the 5th grade students are assigned a 1st grade buddy.  At the end of the year, the 5th graders get to write and publish a story for their buddy.  Isaac wrote the story below, and I asked him if I could share it here (I’ll tell you a little more at the end).

Once upon a time, there was a monkey named Zach.  He lived in a hut in the jungle.  One of his best friends was named Isaac.  They were always working together.  One day, there was a race for tree swinging.  When Zach didn’t enter, Isaac knew he had to do something.

When Isaac found out Zach was afraid of heights, he requested to Zach that he should go to the King of the Jungle.  So, Zach took a hike to the King.  The King sent Zach on a quest!  Zach has always loved quests.  The King gave Zach a map and sent him on his way.

First, Zach came to a long, old, creaky bridge.  Well, Zach was afraid of heights, so he decided to swim the river of bananas and soccer balls.  While we was swimming, he decided to eat a few bananas and kick a few soccer balls.  Zach finally got to the other side.

Next, Zach came up to two big doors.  He tried to open them, but of course, they were locked.  So, Zach had to go all the way across the river of bananas and soccer balls to retrieve the keys from the King.  Again, Zach had to go all the way back across the river and he got the big doors.  The keys worked!

Then, Zach came upon a pond of crayons.  There was a tree swing over it, but Zach was afraid of heights.  So, Zach swam through.  When Zach was in the middle, pieces of paper fell down from the sky.  When Zach looked on them, they were mystery pictures!  Zach decided to stop and do some mystery pictures.  After a while, Zach got to the other side.

Finally, Zach got to a cave.  When Zach looked real closely, he could see that the cave was made of ice cream!  He could even smell it.  Zach rushed inside and started eating away.  After an hour, Zach noticed a light and made a wish.  Suddenly, Zach had this feeling and started to climb a tree.

Zach was amazed.  His fear is over with.  Zach started to go home, so he swung across the pond of crayons, through the door and across the bridge over the river of bananas and soccer balls.  Then, Zach told his whole family about his experience.  Zach finally lived happily ever after.

I think my son has an incredible imagination, and I look forward to seeing where it takes him.  Isaac’s story hits home for us as Isaac deals with a couple of fairly significant fears himself.  Without going into detail, Isaac occasionally misses out on some fun activities, because he is too afraid.  I think we both wish it was an easy fix, but the reality shows that it’s not that simple.  I think Isaac’s story about going to the King for help is appropriate.  We often look for easy, quick fixes, and we sometimes think it’s as simple as just getting over it.  But many times, we need to bring our fears and worries to the King of kings.

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Isaac thanks for sharing your story with me and with my readers.  May God continue to help you through this journey.  I love you!


June 2, 2011 - Posted by | family, parenting, trusting God


  1. Isaac, You are an incredible young man with incredible God given talents –one being your gift of music and the other being the gift of imagination and writing. That is an awesome story you wrote. You need to pursue your gift of writing and may God help you to do it. We love you. Grammy and PapPap Lomicka

    Comment by Janet Lomicka | June 2, 2011 | Reply

    • I agree. I’ll pass this along to Isaac. Thanks for the comment.

      Comment by jonstolpe | June 2, 2011 | Reply

  2. Jon,

    I love this story. Thank you for sharing it and to Isaac for writing it.

    The story speaks to me because I’ve always had some fear of heights. It was never severe enough to prevent me from, for example, standing on the balcony of the Empire State Building, but it is getting a bit worse as I get older and is affecting my driving ability.

    What is most interesting to me is that all the obstacles or tests that Zach the monkey encounters turn out to be fun things: a river of soccer balls and bananas, a pond of crayons, a cave of ice cream. This to me suggests an attitude of seeing pleasure in the world and making a game out of life’s challenges, and is a way of thinking that is wise to carry from childhood into adulthood to the extent possible.

    In the end Zach is able to rid himself is of his fears after he eats the ice cream cave and makes a wish. I think this could be seen as simply the magical thinking of a child.
    However, I see it differently.

    After Zach goes out, has adventures and sees the world and absorbs it’s lessons (eating the ice cream cave), he gains the knowledge and experience he needs to deal with his fears (he sees the light). It is not the wish that took away Zach’s fears; his ability to to swing from tree to tree back to his family is the result of his gaining experience and knowledge.

    Comment by Michael Shaw, your friend in Skippack | June 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Michael, Your comment is so insightful. I believe it will be interesting to share your thoughts with Isaac to see how he responds.

      For me, I used to be afraid of swimming in the deep end of the swimming pool. That fear subsided when I realized how much fun it was to swim, dive off the diving board, and play games with my friends.

      Now my fears are a bit more abstract. For example, I fear failure. Perhaps, if I had more ice cream caves and banana rivers, my fears would be alleviated.

      Comment by jonstolpe | June 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. Wow!! I would like to find a cave made of ice cream. GREAT story, Isaac. Keep up the storytelling.

    Comment by Leah Adams | June 2, 2011 | Reply

    • Leah, Thanks for the comment. It was fun to read your comment along with a few others to Isaac last night. I think he’ll be making some other guest appearances on my blog at some point.

      Comment by jonstolpe | June 3, 2011 | Reply

  4. Hey, Isaac. Great story! I loved the way Zach got through the obstacles despite his fear, even though it was actually harder, but how keeping at it make him able to overcome his fears on the return trip. Not only was that easier, but he had a great sense of accomplishment.

    I really think Michael Shaw saw something important in your story that every obstacle was about something fun. Something about challenges is actually more fun than just being casual. A friend of mine has been working with me to write some stories from my memories of people from my years as a pastor. Writing them has been hard work, but also fun. I enjoyed thinking about these people again and trying to communicate what was special about them in just 500 words. Your story has 393 words, so you have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about.

    I’m glad your Dad posted this at Stretched.


    Comment by Norman Stolpe | July 1, 2011 | Reply

    • Dad,
      Thanks for the comments. Isaac enjoyed reading your feedback. I’ll be looking for a guest post from you soon…!
      Love ya,

      Comment by jonstolpe | July 2, 2011 | Reply

  5. […] this upcoming week.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have shared guest posts by my wife and my son, and it has been remarkable to see the response.  Recently, I’ve started asking people if […]

    Pingback by Be My Guest « Jon Stolpe Stretched | July 10, 2011 | Reply

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