Empathy Shows

View Odds Performing to an audience of 4th-6th graders

GOLDEN RULE (Grades K-2/3)


An Anti-Bullying Assembly Performance – 1 HOUR
Three age-appropriate tales with music and compelling character voices that teach how kindness works best. Bullying is not mentioned. Instead, the stories teach by example. Completely entertained, students participate, raise their hands and answer Odds’ intriguing ethical questions.

The Name of the Tree: a Bantu Folktale
Hungry, thirsty animals can’t reach the giant fruits of a magical tree. A monkey tells them that a chief who lives over the mountain knows the name. After the kudu, the zebra and the lion hear the name but forget, a little turtle who is pushed around by the big animals journeys over the mountain. Only he remembers the name and saves the animals. They choose him to be their chief. (performed with African thumb piano)

The Wind and the Sun: an Aesop’s fable
Who is stronger, the Wind or the Sun? In a contest of strength, the Wind and the Sun try to make a traveler on earth take off his coat. The Wind blows cold blustery air on the man. The Sun shines warm rays on him. Of his own free will, the man removes his coat. (performed with Celtic harp)

Tale of the Kittens: an Italian Folktale
A truly hilarious and absorbing folktale about two sisters, kind and generous Marie and her lazy, bullying sister. Both meet a family of kittens deep beneath the earth and each comes back with a very different experience. This is a singalong story, one of Odds’ very best for young children. (performed with 12-string guitar)

Follow-up Group Discussion
In his follow-up conversation, Odds Bodkin mines each story by asking questions of students. They respond by raising their hands and speaking aloud to the group.

Sample Questions:

  • How would you feel about the little turtle if he had remembered how he’d been mistreated by the big animals and decided to stay by the pool of water between the big rocks instead of saving them?
  • Were the boys wrong to throw stones at the lily pads? After the wounded old frog spoke to them and they learned what they had done, if they had continued to throw stones at the frogs, would that have been more wrong?
  • If Marie’s lazy sister had treated the kittens differently, would the Mother Cat have given her different sorts of gifts?

Toward the end of the conversation, Mr. Bodkin asks how many children have ever heard of The Golden Rule, and what it means. Many will never have heard of it, and so they learn it in public. The positive outcomes in life when one lives by The Golden Rule are explored, as well as the illustration that one can place a piece of gold on a stone and return a thousand years later, and the gold will still be shiny.

GOLDEN RULE (Grades 4-5/6)


An Anti-Bullying Assembly Performance – 1 HOUR
Three age-appropriate tales with music and compelling character voices that teach how kindness works best. Bullying is not mentioned. Instead, the stories teach by example. Completely entertained, students are eager to raise their hands and answer Odds’ intriguing ethical questions.

The Stonecutter: a Japanese Samurai Folktale
A poor stonecutter wants to be ever more powerful but as he does so, he loses compassion for all those around him. In the end, he returns to what he was but remains trapped forever inside a mountain. (performed on 12-string guitar)

The Boys and the Frogs: an Aesop’s Fable
Boys pummel helpless frogs in a pond until a wounded old frog speaks to them about seeing others’ points of view. (performed on Celtic harp)

Finn MacCool and the Big Man: An Irish Tale with Chorus
A hilarious story with a sing-along chorus that tells how Finn and his wife Oona outwit the biggest bully they have ever met without hurting him too badly. (performed on 12-string guitar)

Follow-up Group Discussion
In his follow-up conversation, Odds Bodkin mines each story by asking questions of students. They respond by raising their hands and speaking aloud to the group.

Sample Questions:

  • The stonecutter was given extraordinary power, but did he use it wisely? What would have happened if he had chosen to be kind with his power instead?
  • Were the boys wrong to throw stones at the lily pads? After the wounded old frog spoke to them and they learned what they had done, if they had continued to throw stones at the frogs, would that have been more wrong?

Toward the end of the conversation, Mr. Bodkin asks how many children have ever heard of The Golden Rule, and what it means. Many will never have heard of it, and so they learn it in public. The positive outcomes in life when one lives by The Golden Rule are explored, as well as the illustration that one can place a piece of gold on a stone and return a thousand years later, and the gold will still be shiny.

Young Hercules: The Legendary Bully


A Live Performance with Q&A: Where Mythology meets Empathy (1 hour)
For Middle & High School Students
Hercules looks back on his life and regrets his actions in this rugged and award-winning performance tale. Vivid character voices combined with a rich 12-string guitar score create a movie for the mind. A conversation with astonished students then follows…

Nationally-recognized anti-bullying expert Susan Swearer writes:

“a unique approach to discussing issues of bullying, power, misunderstanding, and the complexity of relationships. Through their immersion in Hercules’ tale and the follow-up discussion questions, students can learn alternative ways of interacting with one another and can experience first-hand a life-changing tale.”

-Susan M. Swearer, Ph.D.
Professor of School Psychology and Licensed Psychologist
Bullying Research Network »