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Lessons Learned from “The Little Blue Truck”

It can be easy as the holiday season comes along to feel “too busy”. Just yesterday, I had the misfortune of going to a couple of stores that were already mired with holiday shoppers. I was amazed by the lack of civility people exuded, both in the parking lot and in the store. People didn’t want to let others into traffic, or they were jockeying for position to get that all important parking space. Even in the store, people were being unusually aggressive with their carts. Just stopping and letting someone else go in front of me, got smiles, thank-you’s and unusual looks, as if to say, “why is he being nice, what’s his angle?” Then they would rush onward looking for whatever was on their list. It reminded me of the story, The Little Blue Truck.

A few nights ago I was reading The Little Blue Truck to my youngest and thought it was a great message as we go into the holiday season. For those not familiar, here’s a short version. The Little Blue Truck is a story about a friendly little blue truck that says hi to everyone he passes as he drives around.

So much fun to read!

So much fun to read!

A Dump Truck comes barging through complaining about being too busy to say hello to everyone, because he’s “got big important things to do.”

Too busy to be nice. So sad...

Too busy to be nice. So sad…

When he gets stuck in the mud and needs help, noone comes except for the Little Blue Truck. He of course gets stuck too, but when he “Beeps” for help, the whole barnyard shows up to get them both out of the mud. The Dump Truck then realizes that he should be nicer and that “a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends.”

I like to think that the Dump Truck learns that being nice and not being self-centered, is good for everyone, not just him. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our to-do lists and forget about other people. We don’t know what’s going on in their lives, and they could be dealing with all sorts of stressful things in their life. We don’t know. So just try and take a few seconds when you are put into a situation where you can choose to be nice like the little Blue Truck or be like the Dump Truck and imagine you were the person, you’re about to mean or nice to. How would you like to be treated?

It’s know hard to always be nice and friendly like the Little Blue Truck, and I know Mrs. SSC would say I’m definitely more akin to drive like the Dump Truck, but I’m working on it. That’s all we can do. This week, if you’re out on the road, or God forbid, you venture into the shopping madness of the Black Friday weekend, try to be like the Little Blue Truck and be nice to people. I know they’ll appreciate it.

Little Blue Truck says Beep! Beep! Beep!

Little Blue Truck says Beep! Beep! Beep!

Happy Thanksgiving!

47 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from “The Little Blue Truck”

  1. The Green Swan

    Great message, SSC! Always nice to have a positive reminder, especially as we head into this holiday week. We have a little blue truck book too and it’s about how he’s out and about delivering Christmas trees to all his friends. What a nice truck!

  2. ChrisCD

    It seems all of the stores are having early sales so they are a bit busier than normal which is a bit sad. Everything was pushed back even earlier this year, making it difficult to enjoy Halloween and Thanksgiving.

    Thanks for the reminder to be kind to everyone. You never know where the ripple you started will end.

    cd :O)

    1. Mr. SSC

      I wasn’t even thinking about the holiday rush until I got to the parking lot and then thought, “Ohh, fuuudge…” Except I didn’t say fudge, lol. And yeah, I remember taking a snapshot of Christmas stuff during October thinking, “Seriously Lowe’s?Y

      You never do know where the ripple ends, good point!

  3. RocDoc

    This was a good story to read just as the holidays start and a good reminder to be thankful for good friends and family. We live in Houston too and for the most part, people are very friendly and nice here. I think the stress of holidays gets to many people though. Thanks for the reminder of all we have to be thankful for, especially great relationships with friends and family!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! For the most part, I agree that people tend to be friendly, but man, this past weekend was quite the anomaly on that front. On the plus side, it scared me away from anymore shopping until January, if I can avoid it. :)

      I think the holiday stresses get to a lot of people, myself included. I just need to remember to take a breath and empathize. :)

  4. Chuck

    I love that book. We read it pretty regularly. I even have voices that I do (the dump truck sounds a little grumpy). It’s a great, simple message and I like your analogy to the grumpy shoppers. We could all benefit from a little more little blue truck.

  5. Tracy

    You won my heart today! We love that book in our house (and it was the theme of our son’s birthday party when he turned 2). He actually loves the sequel Little Blue Truck Leads the Way since there are many more vehicles to look at. As The Green Swan says above, we too have the Christmas one AND we even have the Halloween one. We are definite LBT fans in our house and you have sent a great message out about the lessons we can learn from picture books. :-)

  6. Mrs. COD

    Thanks for the lesson! We love the Little Blue Truck! I, too, ended up in a couple of stores yesterday and while people were polite, it was already too crowded for me. So stressful to navigate the aisles and traffic! Certainly we all could stand to work on our patience and kindness, this time of year as much as any.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, already feeling too crowded for me too. I seriously thought, “what the heck, why is it so crowded? Ooohhh, right.. Whoops.” I for sure could use work on my patience in those situations. :)

  7. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    I always find it weird that people can be so aggressive during a time of year that stresses goodwill and thankfulness. Oy. I think that goes hand in hand with a consumerist focus on these holidays. Once you get back to focusing on time with family, memories, and happiness, it’s easier to be friendly. I need to be more like The Little Blue Truck too! Too often I get frustrated waiting in lines to get groceries and it’s not fair to everyone else.

    1. Mr. SSC

      It’s easy to get wrapped up in the consumerism of the holidays and forget the true meaning, even though being nice is way easier. I need to remember that as well, being rude isn’t fair to other people – great point!

  8. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure

    This is precisely why we hated that Holiday Bazaar we sold at last year. We wanted it to be all jolly and cheery and everyone was all angry and mean and we were like: “Nope. This ruins Christmas. We’re never coming to one of these again!” Again, I have great hope for our children’s generation who grows up reading this and other amazing books that teach this kindness. If we can emphasize that, I look forward to our world in 30 years! (Let’s hope this is the message that sticks… instead of the “I’m entitled” one!)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Ugh, that sounds horrid. Way to take the “fun” out of something. We are definitely trying to teach our kids that they’re not entitled to anything. You don’t get a trophy for showing up and breathing, sorry kiddo! :)

  9. Mrs. BITA

    We love that book too (and hate it a little, as you do with all books that you have been forced to read one gadzillion times and can recite in your sleep). Such a valuable lesson though “a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends”. We’re all in this together. None of us is going to be able to make it on our own.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Ah yes, the love hate relationship of favorite children’s books. This one stays on my good list when our youngest chooses it, because it’s still pretty short compared to some others she loves, and it has a good flow.

      We all need help from others to get by, even if it’s just the occasional random smiles from strangers to lift our spirits. :)

  10. The Money Commando

    My daughter LOVES that book, and the rhyming and animal sounds sure make it fun for me to read.

    I think the part where the Dump says “I have big important things to do” is telling. I think we’ve all met people like that – they believe they are so important that they don’t need to be nice to other people.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It’s definitely a fun read! I know a lot of people that think they’re too important to be nice. It’s not that hard to be nice no matter how important you are.

  11. Elephant Eater

    There are a lot of great messages in kids books and movies that make me step back and think after watching/reading them. I keep a que of blog post ideas and have one about the Lorax and one about Pete the Cat in draft form, to share the messages I took from them. Who knows if I’ll ever finish them though as looks like now I have to go read some “Little Blue Truck” books!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I agree, the kids books have loads of good messages, and usually they’re even translatable to finance. Not always, but sometimes. I’ll have to check out some Pete the Cat books. I hadn’t realized he’d made the leap to kids books. :)

          1. Elephant Eater

            Just had a patient give me a bag and of books for my daughter and “Little Blue Truck” and Pete the Cat “I Love My White Shoes” both in there. Too weird!

  12. TheMoneyMine

    Being nice with people is not a zero sum game, so it’s not like it costs me something to be nice with someone else. We’re both happier as a result!
    And I’d say that for those of us who more well-off than the average, we should be more polite and courteous than average too. I don’t have to struggle paying bills, I don’t have to work 3 jobs, I don’t have to wonder what food will be on the table tonight,
    Life is pretty awesome and if I can make people smile by just being nice, I feel like it’s a form of ‘giving back’.
    Thanks for the positive note before Thanksgiving, I’ve have to get that little blue truck for our little one one day.
    Happy Thanksgiving guys!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      It’s easy to forget to be thankful for being well off, even if it only means being able to cover a $400 emergency bill, and the months bills without worrying.

      That’s a great point that we should pay that forward by being nice. The Little Blue Truck is a great book, and fun to read.

      Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. Mr. PIE

    Oh, man! You are taking me back to some fun times. I think I read that one a thousand times. Between that one, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Goodnight Moon (did you ever read the Goodnight iPad version ?- very funny!). We are heading north for the Thanksgiving break where, funnily enough, we find the locals much friendlier than our MA natives. I am sure we will find the usual idiots on the highway in the large trucks as we drive this afternoon.

    We wish you and your family a relaxing, fun and peaceful break.

    Cheers!

    Mr and Mrs. PIE.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I haven’t read the Goodnight iPad version, or the very hungry Caterpillar, gasp!! I do ahve the t-shirt of a stormtrooper looking out the window towards the Death Star (a la Goodnight Moon) and he’s saying, That’s no Moon! :)

      I hope you guys had a good relaxng break away from the city and usual life!

  14. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    I’m so ashamed that I’ve never heard of this book! Sounds like a terrific one, though. I would definitely say I used to be like the dump truck but age and experience often come with realizing that the little blue truck knows his stuff, and now he is the type of mentor I strive to imitate, even if “Dump Truck Laurie” does come out every once in awhile. :-) Happy Thanksgiving to you guys!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yep, The Dump Truck in me comes out in Houston traffic, unsurprisingly, but like you said, I’ve noticed with age, my Dump Truck attitude has gotten way more forgiving. I just work harder to not let him stick around when he does show up, something I didn’t care to do in the past.

      Hope your Thanksgiving was great!

  15. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    “they could be dealing with all sorts of stressful things in their life” – I try to keep this in mind when I encounter a “dump truck”. (I don’t always succeed though. Sometimes, I dump truck right back.)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Me too, sometimes. It’s just easier to default to “Dump Trucking” right back at someone. It’s just something to work on and hope it goes better next time. :)

  16. Mrs Groovy

    Moving from NY to NC it took a while to get used to people waving to others they don’t know and saying hello. But it’s a nice way of living and now we’re those people who wave and say hi. I’ve never seen arguments in parking lots or stores, even on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Happy belated turkey day!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Growing up in KY, everyone used to wave whether you knew them or not. I loved it when we moved to LA and found that happening more than not again. It took some getting used to again though. :) It’s nice and makes me feel good just to wave to someone or say hi and smile.

      Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one!

  17. J. Money

    We read that book almost once a week over here – great one :)

    (although there’s one paragraph in there that I can NEVER get to rhyme right, and I swear they put it in there on purpose to trip up all us parents, haha…)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah that “dump truck stuck in muck and mire” paragraph just doesn’t quite flow right. I get tripped up on it more times than not, although I finally did figure out a cadence that lets it flow and rhyme. If I don’t start with that then it just doesn’t flow naturally on its own like the rest of the book. :)

  18. Miss Mazuma

    I’m sorry you had to run out into that mess! You’re right, people are so aggressive with the holiday shopping…I feel like they know its going to be brutal so they leave their house with a game face on. Always on the defense. We went shopping around 6pm on Friday and were surprised how light the traffic was. I suppose there is something to be said to waiting for dinner time. :) Then again, our mindset was relaxed – we were out to buy a coat for one of the boys and it wasn’t an emergency trip of any kind. We were hoping to see some of the consumer madness going on but were disappointed we must have missed it all!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah, and I was blindsided by it not thinking it’s holiday season already. Whoops. :) Mrs. SSC and her mom went out mid morning on Friday for some little things, and said the stores were empty. I went out that afternoon to get 4 strings of lights, and it was chaos. Packed store, and a line about 25 people long. I was about to put them back, when they “pre-checked me out” and I got to jump to the front of the line. It didn’t seem fair, but I wasn’t going to complain and ultimately was out of there in under 5 minutes. Yeah!!

      Like you, I was relaxed and in no rush, but I wasn’t prepared for the people based on Mrs. SSc’s experience earlier. Oh well, live and learn.

  19. ZJ Thorne

    This is true in my work building, too. So many important people who can’t kindly walk the hallways in the normal manner. Friendliness is wonderful for everyone and not hard.

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