The 12 Lessons for Greatness

January of last year, I was invited to join the YuhuHugsteam and help create a series of stories and essays that would help kids deal with tough situations successfully.  YuhuHugs is an innovative, international team that created the Dreamhut, an interactive indoor-playhouse designed to awaken a child’s creativity.  Their motto is “Play more, be more.”  I love that!
During the planning for the Dreamhut, they worked with their children, getting ideas from them on what would make a perfect play environment.  Both parents and children on this team knew the power of stories.  Soon, two storybook children arrived in their collective imagination, young Yuhu and Hugs, who came to spark dreams and adventures. 
That’s where I came in.  I wrote stories about Yuhu and Hugs, and essays about the 12 values for parents.  What’s resulted is the 12 Lessons For Greatness.
The project was so successful, the team decided to offer the books to everyone and not just to those who bought the Dreamhut.  Now the books are available both as ebooks and print editions. 

Yuhu and Hugs are neighbors and best friends.  Young Hugs and his dog, Lucky, are naturally optimistic, while Yuhu has a harder time seeing hope when she’s faced with challenges.  This is not helped by her rather pessimistic cat, Jinx.  But Yuhu is excited by life, she just can’t keep still.  Even her name is a little celebration – woo-hoo Yuhu!  Life is too short to waste even a minute without some sort of activity going on.  Obviously this leaves little time for mundane tasks like picking up and organizing.  Yuhu’s dad drives a truck all over the country.  Her mom is a writer.
Hugs on the other hand, loves to keep everything in its place.  Hugs loves to hug people.  He’s a natural pacifist, has a way with animals, and wants to travel all over the world, into outer space, and even to the bottom of the ocean.  His father is a doctor and his mother is a pet psychologist.
Both families have grandparents, uncles, and aunts to deal with.  Their families are multicultural and sometimes things can get confusing for the kids.  Yuhu and Hugs learn new things everyday – and with a little magic, wonder, and optimism, they learn life’s most valuable lessons.
I live in an intergenerational community called BridgeMeadows, set up to support families with children adopted out of the foster care system.  I mentor children in art, reading, and writing.  I spent a lot of time while working on the 12 Lessons for Greatness talking with the children at Bridge Meadows about values.  I was interested in what they thought of each story and any insights they had.  They had plenty!  I think they made the stories better. 

In the stories, there are surprising characters:  a grandmother who works with monkeys, a grandfather who plays wheelchair basketball.  There are talking animals, trips back in time, and flights into outer space. 
In the series, they learn about:

This sounds like a lot of heavy information to teach a child but Yuhu and Hugs make the lessons delightful.  They have fantastic adventures but they also have to deal with everyday situations.
If you’d like to get more familiar with the ideas behind the 12 Lessons for Greatness, look at the Play More Be More website.  You can order the books there, too.
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3 thoughts on “The 12 Lessons for Greatness

  1. Absolutely fabulous! What an exciting, beautiful project and I loved hearing how children's ideas and feedback were brought into the process. Big congratulations to you Joy!

  2. Thanks so much. Lisa. Getting feedback from the children was one of the major delights of the project. It still is now that the stories are published. 🙂

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