It's better to focus on the things you can do, instead of the things you can't do.

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How can a shoebox make you feel better?Catherine sat on her bed with her chin in her hands.

“Why aren’t you getting ready for Grandma’s birthday party?” asked Mother.

“I can’t bake like Sylvia or knit like Anne,” Catherine grumbled. “They made good presents. All I made for her is a dumb card.”

“It’s a lovely card. And no one can be good at everything,” said Mother. She sat on the bed next to Catherine. “When I was your age, I felt sad when I couldn’t do certain things. But one day Grandma showed me the shoebox game, and it made me feel a lot better.”

Catherine frowned. “How can a shoebox make me feel better?”

“You’ll see,” said Mother. She disappeared down the hall, then came back carrying a shoebox, a pencil, paper, and scissors.

Catherine watched as Mother cut several pieces of paper into squares.

“Now, I want you to write down all the things you can do,” said Mother.

“Like what?” asked Catherine.

“Why not start with things you’ve learned in school? Give it some thought while I ice Grandma’s birthday cake.”

Catherine sat for a while wrinkling and unwrinkling her eyebrows. First, she thought of how she could add without counting on her fingers. Then she thought of how she could read bedtime stories all by herself.

Slowly Catherine began to write and write. Before long she had written on every square of paper.

She was so busy that she didn't hear Mother come into the room. “My goodness!” said Mother. “Do you think they’ll all fit in the shoebox?”

“I hope so,” said Catherine. “It was fun thinking of all the stuff I can do.”

"Do you think they'll all fit in one shoebox?"“And the next time you feel sad because you can’t do something, your feel-good shoebox will remind you of how much you can do—just as mine did when I was a little girl,” said Mother. “Now let’s finish getting dressed for Grandma’s party.

“Happy birthday!” yelled the children when they arrived at Grandma’s house. Hugs and kisses were traded all around. Then everyone settled in the kitchen.

“We brought you presents,” said Anne.

“We made them ourselves,” added Sylvia.

“Wonderful,” said Grandma. “I’ll make us some hot chocolate, and then I’ll open my gifts.”

The children sat at the table while their grandmother filled their cups.

“These are for your afternoon tea,” said Sylvia. She handed her grandmother a bright red tin of fat oatmeal-and-raisin cookies.

“Scrumptious,” said Grandma. She passed the tin around so everyone could sample Sylvia’s gift.

Anne handed her grandmother a blue box. “This will keep you toasty warm on your walks,” she said.

“As soft as a kitten’s fur,” said Grandma as she rubbed the knit scarf against her cheek.

Then Catherine gave her card to Grandma.

“Why, it’s the prettiest birthday card I’ve ever seen!” exclaimed Grandma. “I’m going to frame it and hang it on the wall. It will look great right here in the kitchen.”

Catherine thought it would, too.

That night, as she lay in bed, Catherine thought about her day. She thought about the yummy cake. Then she thought about the fuss Grandma had made about her card.

But she thought most about her feel-good shoebox and how it really did make her feel very, very good.