Protecting Kids Most at Risk for Cyber Harm (Guest: Dr. John DeGarmo)

(This podcast is being sponsored in support of young people by Friendly Oaks Publications.)


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JDeGarmophotoFor most folks, the internet has been a valuable resource and an enormous time-saver. The internet is virtually unlimited in its capacity to provide, in the blink of an eye, needed information and resources. Lives have been saved because of the availability and speed of the internet.

But, as we all know, lives have been burdened and even destroyed through use of the internet, and many of them were children and teens.

Cyberbullying is a serious problem, as are cyber predators looking for vulnerable young people. There are websites showing one how to make weapons and bombs, as well as sites that not only show a young person how to take their life, but convince them to do so. According to our guest on this program, Dr. John DeGarmo, these cyber dangers are just the tip of the iceberg.

Listen in as your host, psychologist Dr. James Sutton, interviews Dr. DeGarmo on the dangers of unmonitored internet access, the problems it can create, and ways to manage issues more effectively.

Keeing Foster Children Safe Online book imageDr. DeGarmo also shares how some youngsters are more at-risk for cyber harm because of their needs, their insecurities and their histories of difficulty. Foster children are especially vulnerable to this sort of harm, deception, inappropriate contact through the internet, but non-foster youngsters can be affected, also.

Dr. DeGarmo provides training nationally to foster parents on how to keep kids safe online. He and his wife are foster parents themselves; they practice these interventions every day. They work!

In addition to a busy speaking and training schedule, Dr. DeGarmo is the host of a weekly radio show, Foster Talk with Dr. John. He also writes extensively on the topic of foster care. Today we are featuring his book entitled, Keeping Foster Kids Safe Online. (27:46)

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Adults with ODD (Dr. James Sutton)

BTSpReportThis video has been on my YouTube site for several years now. It continues to draw a significant amount of traffic (almost 18,000 views). We thought it would be interesting to publish it here on the Network. –JDS


There’s been a lot said about Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) in adults. Until recently, however, ODD as a diagnostic classification was reserved for use with children and adolescents. The DSM-5, the newest diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals, is more liberal in applying the ODD diagnosis across ages. (This video was made when the older manual, the DSM-IV-TR, was the prevailing authority.)

In this introductory video, psychologist Dr. James Sutton offers insights into defiant, argumentative, oppositional, noncompliant and angry behaviors in adults, behaviors often classified as one of several personality disorders. Costs of these behaviors are discussed, and several approaches to interventions are offered. Resources for help and support are also provided.

The interventions mentioned here were ones Dr. Sutton used successfully with patients showing these characteristics in 28-day drug and alcohol treatment.

Dr. James Sutton is a psychologist and founder/host of The Changing Behavior Network.

Gifts and Resources for Parents During International Child-Centered Divorce Month (Rosalind Sedacca)

BTAboutThemJanuary is International Child-Centered Divorce Month. The entire month is dedicated to helping parents minimize the negative effects of divorce on children – by giving them the tools and resources they need to support their kids during and long after a divorce.

RSedaccaPhotoThroughout January divorce attorneys, mediators, therapists, financial planners, coaches, parenting experts and other professionals around the world will be providing complimentary gifts offering advice and insights to help parents best cope with divorce and parenting issues.

More divorces are initiated in January, following the holiday season, than in any other month. That’s why the Child-Centered Divorce Network chose January to commemorate ICCD Month every year. The goal is to educate parents about how to prevent negative consequences for children during and after separation or divorce.

At the special website, parents can access free ebooks, coaching services, videos, audio programs and other valuable gifts by simply clicking links. The website will be available throughout January at: After entering their email address, parents will receive an ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting along with access to all the other gifts and activities from divorce experts.

Intl Child-Centered Divorce Month logo - newParents will also find listings of free workshops, teleseminars, webinars and other special events being held during January on the Events Calendar at the same website.

We are thrilled that divorce professionals around the world will be joining together to bring a heightened awareness to parents about their responsibility to their children’s well-being before, during and after divorce. Our purpose is education and mistake prevention. We want to encourage respectful co-parenting, discuss the painful consequences of parental alienation, teach effective communication skills, and guide parents away from litigation-based solutions.

Parental decisions about divorce can affect and scar children for years – and often for a lifetime. As Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, I want to tell divorcing parents: Regardless of your own emotional state, it is essential to put your children’s needs first when making decisions related to divorce or separation!

Of course, that’s easier said than done. That’s why the Child-Centered Divorce Network provides valuable resources to help parents throughout the year. They can access a complimentary ebook, a weekly newsletter, blog articles, an Expert Interview series, parenting coaching services and weekly video interviews on the Divorce View Talk Show.

The more aware parents are, the more quickly they can address challenges that come along regarding their children’s behavior, getting along with their co-parent, adapting to single life and transitioning into a brighter future. We remind parents they are not alone and encourage them to reach out for help, support and useful resources to minimize stress and maximize success.

For more information about International Child-Centered Divorce Month plus access to all the free gifts and special events taking place in January visit:

Rosalind Sedacca is the Voice of Child-Centered Divorce. She is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the internationally acclaimed book, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce, a unique and effective storybook approach to affirming children while helping them understand divorce.

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Improving How Kids Think About Money (Guest: Christy Ziglar)


Christy: I understand the Shine Bright Kids books partly came as a result of your experiences (as a Certified Financial Planner) in putting together a financial literacy program for first and second graders in the Atlanta Public Schools. Since little actual currency (bills and coins) is exchanged now in our credit-card, electronic account world, how has this affected our children’s understanding of the cost of things and decisions regarding spending? Teaching children about money early on is important, but how do we do it?


ChristyPhotoI often wonder what will happen when our children go out into the world and find out that money is not available “on demand.” In our fast-paced, instant gratification, consumer-driven culture, it has become increasingly difficult for children to understand the value of money.

Rare Use of “Real” Money

Who can blame them? They’re not growing up with money in the same way that all of us did, i.e., physically collecting, holding and making purchases with dollars and cents.  When was the last time you paid for something with cash or even a check? The majority of purchases in the United States are now made with plastic and the trend is set to continue.

moneyIn fact many retailers, including major airlines, don’t even accept cash any more. Research shows that using plastic encourages spending, so what does this mean for the next generation?  How will our kids learn to become successful managers of money when they rarely come into physical contact with it?

Even with recent economic difficulties, our American consumer habits and obsession with new products (think of your average suburban home) make it difficult for many children to have a realistic view of money. On a daily basis, we are bombarded by messages that we deserve to have exactly what we want NOW. There is a major disconnect between the access to so much and the hard work, sacrifice, self discipline and responsibility required to sustain certain lifestyles.

For many of us, if we need something, we drive to the closest store (or even more convenient, go online), find it, and pay for it with a plastic card. What message does this send our children? As adults, we appreciate the concept of limits and “affordability” and know that sometimes we have to be patient or simply say ‘no.’ Each of our choices comes with a consequence and a trade-off. But are we teaching this to our children?

“Paying For” is Changing

piggybankMoney has traditionally provided some of our earliest lessons in “give and take.” Do you remember the first time you emptied your piggy bank (or other wallet) and purchased something you really wanted? Perhaps you had been saving for weeks or months? Hopefully once you obtained the desired item, the excitement and perceived benefits outweighed the loss associated with handing over your hard-earned cash.

Reflecting on these experiences, there is an important distinction to make between physical money transactions and the “cashless” transactions children observe now. The physical act of handing over the dollars and coins had an immediate emotional and psychological impact that allowed us to gain a deeper appreciation of the true value of money and provided a context for our first notions of cost and reward. This doesn’t happen in today’s digital age.  The entire concept of “paying for” is changing literally and figuratively. Our children consume, receive and accumulate without experiencing any loss or putting forth of effort.

Creating Teachable Moments

When it comes to kids and money, Prospect Theory and Behavioral Economics present an interesting opportunity for creating everyday teachable moments. Kahneman and Tversky’s research indicates that, when faced with a choice, a perceived loss is more painful than a gain.  As a parent, I’ve found this never to be truer.  If we want to encourage your children to take responsibility, it is much more effective to take AWAY than to GIVE.

For example, we frequently use a point system. Instead of starting at zero, we start them at ten with the potential to earn up to twenty points. With “skin in the game,” having points taken away is a great motivator. This approach works well with an allowance. Consider paying the week’s allowance (or month’s for older children) upfront in dollar and cents and then as chores and responsibilities are not completed, take away some money. Instead of feeling entitled to simply receive more, children are motivated to work and earn.

Needs versus Wants

To encourage good money habits, talk to you children about the things that matter most. Help them write down specific money goals and determine a strategy and a realistic plan for reaching their goal. Great joy (and pride!) comes from achieving a goal that required hard work, patience and discipline. Explain the difference between needs and wants. Try dividing their money into three containers: Saving, Giving and Spending. As an incentive, consider matching your children’s amounts in the “Saving” and “Giving” jar but let them know they’re on their own with “Spending.” Allow them to make age-appropriate choices, and resist the urge to help them out if they make a bad choice.

Get Them Involved

The next time you’re out shopping with the kids, involve them in your decision-making process. Point out the prices of items and talk about the pros and cons of one compared to another (this is also a great way to teach basic math!). Challenge your kids to look for coupons and special offers and then talk about what makes the most sense for your family.

Keeping a budget should be a family affair; it can become fun! (Make a game of completing the grocery list and staying under a certain dollar amount, let kids take turns guessing the costs of certain items or offer a prize to the child who finds the best deal of the week).

ATMTake your children to the local bank and explain how money is deposited directly into your account and is then transferred electronically. Let them insert checks or cash into the ATM. Set up a savings account and log in to check your balance together before and after you make a purchase.

Exciting Opportunities

The digital age presents new challenges for teaching our kids about money, but also provides exciting opportunities.  In the words of my late uncle, Zig Ziglar, “Money isn’t everything but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” In short, money matters a lot. Let’s be creative and intentional in finding new ways to help our kids learn to make better financial choices. People who make good decisions about money tend to make good decisions about life!

 Christy Ziglar, CFP® is the founder of Shine Bright Kid Co., author of the award-winning Shine Bright Kids book series, experienced personal financial advisor and mother of twins. She speaks frequently on issues of financial literacy, character building, instilling wisdom in young children, positive attitude and values-based goal-setting. [website] Also, Christy was very recently featured inThe Huffington Post, a distinguished honor, indeed. [link]

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“Why I Believe in Christmas” (Zig Ziglar)

BTLifesMomentsOn November 28, 2012, Zig Ziglar passed away at the age of 86. In his career he inspired hundreds of thousands of folks, many of whom were hungry for a message of hope. In 1996, I visited with Zig in his office in Dallas, where we recorded the audio program, The Power of Gratitude. (That interview is in two parts on this site [link1] [link2]. Zig lived that message every day of his life. His son, Tom Ziglar, posted this Christmas message from his dad in the company’s newsletter the year Zig passed away. I share it with you with gratitude for the influence Zig has had in all aspects of my life. MERRY CHRISTMAS all. –JDS


zigIt’s the first Christmas I can remember. It arrived just seven weeks after the deaths of my father and baby sister. To make matters worse, it was in the heart of the Great Depression. Things were tough. All of us children who were older made what income contributions we could, but the truth was my mother had eight of her eleven remaining children still living at home, and six were too young to work. Understandably, the Ziglar kids were concerned about what kind of Christmas it would be!

The good news is that, although our grief was fresh, we still celebrated Christmas. We received no toys that year, but much to my delight in my gift box I found three English walnuts and something I had never tasted before–raisins! They were absolutely delicious. Mama prepared her wonderful molasses candy and we had a small cedar tree. And my mother read the Christmas story, like she always did.

My sixth Christmas will always have great meaning to me. We celebrated the birth of Christ even in hard times because we believed in Christmas.

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Four Steps to Help Parents Reduce Holiday Stress (Dr. Thomas Phalen)


The holidays are coming up, and although many parents look forward to having their children home from school, they also find that after a few days it isn’t so easy having the kids underfoot all the time. The youngsters are all excited about Christmas, they start fighting more often, and when they’re not doing that they complain to their parents that they’re bored.

TPhelanphotoThis season is one of those odd times that combine a lot of fun with a lot of stress. It isn’t easy having the children right on top of you again, especially when they’re all pumped up about the presents they’re going to get and can’t seem to leave one another alone. Here are a few ideas for maintaining sanity during these both enjoyable and difficult times.

1. Help Kids Plan or Structure Part of Each Day
With school-age kids, help them plan or structure part of each day, then let the youngsters figure out what they are going to do to entertain themselves for the rest of that day. Do not fall into the trap of seeing yourself as the resident entertainment committee! You might help Emily by allowing her to have a friend over to eat dinner, watch a video and then sleep overnight. The rest of the day your daughter decides for herself what she’ll do. Or you might take Ryan out to lunch and then to a movie, but the rest of the day he entertains himself.

boys_sled2. Be Clear About the Rules from the Start
Make the above rules clear as soon as the vacation starts, so when the kids come up to you and say, “There’s nothing to do,” you can reply, “You and I will be going out at 4, but in the meantime I’m sure you can think of something.” Above all, don’t keep making suggestion after suggestion after suggestion, only to have a child shoot down each idea as soon as it’s out of your mouth. Making a lot of suggestions to your children for what they can do implies that you are responsible for their keeping busy and feeling entertained.

3. Plan Lots of One-on-One Fun
Plan lots of activities one on one with your children. Just you and one child—no spouse or siblings. Not only does this eliminate the fighting, it offers the opportunity for real closeness and bonding. Most parents find that it’s a lot easier to have fun when it’s just you and one child, rather than the whole family together. This may sound funny, but family fun is overrated! Kids love having a parent all to themselves, and under these circumstances each youngster is usually much easier to get along with.

4. Avoid Feeling Guilty
Don’t feel guilty if—two days before December 25—you find yourself wishing the kids were back in school already. You have lots of company! It’s not easy having a lot of wound-up little ones chasing each other around the house.

Dr. Thomas Phelan is a clinical psychologist and the author of 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 (1.5 million copies sold). His most recent book is Tantrums! Managing Meltdowns in Public and Private. Visit for more information.

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The Tablecloth: A Story for the Christmas Season

Jim Gentil, my friend in Austin, Texas, published this story about seven years ago in his online newsletter, The Power of Positive Living. It captures the essence of the Christmas season. It was originally written by Howard C. Schade under the title of “The Ivory and Gold Tablecloth.” May this story bless your soul, as it has mine. –JDS


At Christmas time, men and women everywhere gather in their churches to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But the story I like best to recall was not a huge miracle — not exactly.

It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old. Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit and prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped there and built it beautifully. Now, the good days had passed from the section of town where it stood.

But the pastor and his young wife believed in their run-down-church. They felt that, with hard work and lots of faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.

The Storm

stormBut, late in December, a severe story whipped through the river valley; the worst blow fell on the church. A huge chunk of rain-soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar. Sorrowfully the pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they could not hide the ragged hole.

The pastor looked at it and had to remind himself quickly, “Thy will be done!” But his wife wept, “Christmas is only two days away!”

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended an auction held for the benefit of a youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out of its folds a gloriously beautiful, very ornately sewn, gold and ivory lace tablecloth.

It was a magnificent item, nearly 15 feet long. But it, too, dated from a long vanished era. Who had any use for such a thing today. There were a few half-hearted bids, then the pastor was seized with what he thought was a great idea.

He bid it in for $6.50.

He carried the glorious gold and ivory lace cloth back to the church and very carefully put it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole! And the extraordinary beauty of its shimmering handwork cast a fine, holiday glow over the chancel.

It was a great triumph. Happily, he went back to preparing his Christmas sermon.

The Woman in the Cold

busstopJust before noon on the day of Christmas Eve, as the pastor was opening the church, he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop.

“The bus won’t be here for 40 minutes!” he called, inviting her into the church to get warm.

She told him she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as governess to the children of one of the wealthy families in town, but she had been turned down. As a Jewish war refugee, her English was imperfect.

The woman sat down in a pew and chafed her hands and rested. After a while, she dropped her head and prayed.

She then looked up and saw the great gold and ivory cloth. She rose suddenly and walked up the steps of the chancel.

She looked a the beautiful tablecloth with with remembering eyes.

“It is Mine!”

The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage, but she didn’t seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth and lovingly rubbed it between her fingers as tears welled in her kind eyes.

But they were happy tears of recognition.

“It is mine!” she said. “It is my banquet cloth!” She lifted up a corner and showed the surprised pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it.

“My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels! There could not be another like it.”

For the next few minutes the woman and the pastor talked excitedly together. She explained that she was Viennese, and that, in being Jews, she and her husband wanted to flee from the Nazis. They were advised to go separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border.

But she never saw him again. Later, she heard he had died in a concentration camp.

“I have always felt it was my fault to leave without him,” she said. “Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment.”

The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the beautiful cloth with her. But she refused saying, “No, no, the cloth has found its way to you. You need it. It has purpose here; I want you to have it. I am happy knowing you have it.”

She gazed lovingly up at the magnificent gold and ivory lace cloth, then quietly went away.

The Repairman

As the church began to fill on Christmas Eve, it was clear that the magnificent cloth was going to be a great success. It has been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight.

The glorious gold and ivory lace cloth actually glowed in the candlelight. It cast lovely fine designs on the walls and ceilings of the church. Everyone looked around in wonderment, and a tranquil ambiance was cast over all.

After the service, the pastor stood at the doorway. Many people told him the church looked more beautiful than ever before.

chimesFrom the generous donations that were given, a few days later the pastor had the local jeweler, who was also the clock-and-watch repairman, come to repair the church chimes.

The repairman’s gentle middle-aged face drew into a look of great astonishment! As if in a trance, he walked right up to the beautiful cloth and looked upon it intently.

“It is strange,” he said in his soft accent. “Many years ago, my wife, God rest her, and I owned such a cloth. My wife put it on the table (and here he gave a big smile) for holidays and when the Rabbi came to dinner.”


The pastor suddenly became very excited. He told the jeweler about the woman who had been in the church to get warm, saw the cloth, and recognized it to be hers.

The startled jeweler clutched the pastor’s arm. “Can it be?” he said, through desperate tears.

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed the woman for the governess position and got her address. Then they both drove to the city.

The jeweler knocked on the heavy, weathered door. As it opened, there stood his beloved wife. The many years of separation were immediately washed away by their blissful tears. They held each other in loving embraces, never to be parted again.

Purpose in the Storm

True love seems to find a way. To all who hear or read this story, the joyful purpose of the storm was to knock a hole in the wall of the church.

So, Dear Ones, the next time something knocks a hole in your dreams or your goals, just remember to have enough faith and enough belief in those dreams and goals to lovingly and creatively hang your own brilliant lace cloth over the temporary mar.

Then watch the miracles come. ###

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Raising Safe, Responsible Children Using Native American Principles (Guest: Laura Ramirez)


More than ever, we are drawn to realize that responsible children capable of growing into competent, yet humble, adults make up the bedrock of any culture.

LRamirezphotoBut exactly how do we help our children learn and exercise not only responsibility, but the capacity to work and relate easily with others? How do they learn to balance self-assurance with authentic humility and manage friendliness with caution? How do they learn to manage or avoid those who might cause them harm in  some way? How do we teach our children to handle life confidently and safely without being burdened by fear?

The wisdom within Native American parenting practices recognizes the importance of teaching children positive, real-life lessons early on. According to our guest on this program, Laura Ramirez, Native American children are taught by custom the importance of having vision instead of fear as it applies to their purpose, their role with others and their oneness with the environment. These children are also taught, when very young, that understanding their nature plays an important role in their growth and development.

keepersbookLaura will share with us insights and principals for being “keepers” of our children as they raise them to become safe and quietly confident young people. And, no surprise, they are deeply rooted in time-tested Native American practices.

Laura is a child advocate, author and workshop leader. Her book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting, has won four awards, including the Gold Nautilus Award for books promoting conscious living and social change. Laura’s husband, Larry, is a Native American, of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. The couple have two sons and live in the sage-dotted foothills of northern Nevada. (28:07)


TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK



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What If It’s NOT ADHD? (Guest: Frank Barnhill, MD)


What does this mean? It means that almost 2.5 million young people are being misdiagnosed, mismedicated, and wrongly labeled as ADHD. The implications of this are far-reaching and harmful to our children.

In this fast-paced and fact-filled interview, ADHD expert and family practice physican, Dr. Frank Barnhill, describes the problems and concerns associated with a “quick fix,” a hasty diagnosis of ADHD and use of stimulant drugs without benefit of a thorough evaluation. He shares how a wrongful diagnosis in children and teens can lead to employment, legal, and emotional problems in adulthood. He then draws on his 30 years of family medicine to cover important questions parents should ask their doctor to be sure their children are being effectively evaluated and treated for ADHD (29:04).

mistakenforadhdDr. Barnhill is the author of the aclaimed book, Mistaken for ADHD. It stands as a definitive resource for ruling out the many conditions and disorders that can, at first appearance, look much like ADHD.

To listen, use the player below. To access the file (right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE

Five Kernels of Corn: An Act of Gratitude and Faith

BTLifesMomentsHere is a story taken from a November 23, 2006, entry in Dr. Sutton’s earlier blog, It’s About Them. The original source of the material was Marshall and Manuel’s book, The Light and the Glory (Fleming H. Revell, 1977). These men did exhaustive research on the material included in their book, often being allowed access to documents and journals not readily available to the public, such as this account taken from the journal of William Bradford. As incredible as this story may seem, it is shared as being true, a testament to the power of a simple, sustaining faith.


On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in a natural harbor on the inside of the northern tip of Cape Cod. There it stayed. The location was not the Pilgrims’ first choice; they had planned to settle near the mouth of the Hudson.

pilgrimsThe area where the ship made landfall had belonged to the Patuxets, a fierce tribe that took intense delight in murdering anyone who would dare invade their territory. A sickness, however, had wiped them out, leaving their land free for the taking. (Other Indians, fearing “bad spirits,” would have no part of it.) The Pilgrims didn’t even have to clear fields for planting. They were alread there for them.

The nearest neighbors were the Wampanoags, a civilized tribe ruled by Massasoit. The chief and his people accepted the Pilgrims and helped them. Squanto, a lone survivor of the Patuxets, made his home with the new inhabitants and taught them how to survive in this new and challenging land.

Although the bounty of the summer of 1621 brought a time of heartfelt gratitude (the first Thanskgiving), the Pilgrims’ obligation to repay the backers who had financed their voyage left them dangerously close to starvation. Food stores had all but disappeared.

At one point, a daily ration of food for a Pilgrim was 5 kernels of corn. With a simple faith that God would sustain them, no matter what, they pulled through. History records that not a single one of them died from starvation that winter. Not a one.

The harvest of 1623 brought a surplus of corn, so much that the Pilgrims were able to help out the Indians for a change. So joyous were they that they celebrated a second Day of Thanksgiving and invited Massasoit to be their guest.

He came, bringing with him his wife, several other chiefs and 120 braves. All sat down to a feast of 12 venison, 6 goats, 50 hogs and pigs, numerous turkeys, vegtables, grapes, nuts, plums, puddings and pies. But, lest anyone forget, all were given their first course on an empty plate.

They were each given 5 kernels of corn.