From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Be The Best You Can Be


We undertake the education of our children in many ways and for many purposes. We educate our children to give them knowledge, to impart skills, to inculcate values, and to develop character. We use many different means to educate our children, from the examples we set to traditional classroom instruction to the use of the newest digital technologies. But from the beginning of human history, one of the most common ways we educate our children is through stories.

Such stories can teach us and inspire us along many dimensions. They can teach us to be strong and confident in the face of adversity. They can teach us to be kind, generous and forgiving to others, and to be grateful for those who seek to help us. They can inspire us to be bold enough to change what is wrong in our lives, or wrong in the world we see.

The stories in this volume were selected by Dr. Milton Boniuk and the team listed in his introduction, and published with the support of The Boniuk Foundation. Dr. Boniuk and his wife Laurie are two of the most remarkable people I have met. They have generously devoted substantial resources to fostering religious tolerance in particular, but also improving the education of our children to instill broad values of tolerance and appreciation for diversity of all kinds. They believe that the education of our children is the foundation of a better society.

This work takes place not only as in this publication through the efforts of the Boniuk Foundation, but also through an allied endeavor at Rice University, The Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance. The mission of the institute, founded in 2013, is “to understand and promote religious tolerance by using innovative methods to” undertake research, produce educational programming, and foster dialogue. It identifies religious intolerance as one of the root causes of war, discrimination, and violence in our world, and is committed to undertake those educational and research activities that will begin to eliminate such intolerance. (You can find more information at

While the goal of this volume is considerably broader, and it addresses many of the values and behaviors we seek to instill in our children, almost all of them also affect the degree to which we practice and foster tolerant and indeed welcoming attitudes toward the differences we see in others. The Boniuks sincerely hope, as do so many of us, that through such efforts we can raise new generations that will end the hatred and violence that has ruined so many lives. This volume of brief stories celebrates the very best in the human spirit, and is worth reading both to our children and to ourselves.

~David W. Leebron

President, Rice University

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