There's no place like Home.Grades 1 - 3 Printing Practice
The Key
Elaine Ernst Schneider
May 29, 2001

When I was about nine years old, I found a metal box in my dad's workshop. I asked if I could have it. My dad said, "Sure."

I was excited to have the box. It was mysterious. "What could be
inside?" I muttered to myself. Looking it over carefully, I found that the box had three hinges on one side and a clasp on the other, but it wouldn't open when I tugged on the clasp.

I decided to remove the hinges. Finding my dad's screwdriver, I began to pry one of the hinges, bending it back away from the box. I worked and worked. But no matter how hard I poked and twisted, the hinge held firm.

I needed a new plan. "I'll pull the clasp off the box!" I cried out loud. I knew that if I could separate the clasp from the box, then it would open. For this task, I borrowed my dad's pliers. Using the pliers, I pinched the clasp and then pulled with all my might. I even put the box on the floor and stood on it to hold it down while I pulled on the clasp with the pliers. Still, nothing.

Finally I was so desperate to get into that box that I got my dad's hammer. I pounded the clasp and then I pounded the hinges. At last, the clasp and the hinges cracked and the box opened. But the metal box was ruined. It would have been a fun box to keep things in, just the perfect size for marbles, pencils, and pennies. But, not now. The box would never close again.

My dad had heard all the racket I was making with the hammer. He arrived just in time to see that I had destroyed the box. "Why didn't you just ask me for the key?" he questioned.

"The key!" I yelled in dismay. I had never even considered a key! I had pushed, pulled, pinched, and hammered, when all the time, there was a key.

I always remembered the lesson. There have been times in my life when doors were closed and passageways to happiness seem to be blocked. But I stopped to look and listen. Never again did I start in hammering, pushing, and pulling before I first looked for the key. Often, it was right under my nose.


Submitted by:  © Elaine Ernst Schneider  is a freelance writer and a teacher. She has been writing since high school and has published articles, songs, and children's work. Presently, Elaine is a curriculum author for Group Publishing and also writes the City Songs column for ezine.  Send your feedback to Elaine

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