A new boy had joined the class. His name was Freddy; he’d come from the local rival school. Everyone was a bit wary of him, especially the other boys.
“Right,” announced Mrs Lockley one morning, “on Friday we have an exciting day! We’re going on a class trip to the History Museum.” The whole class cheered! They loved trips. They would see old fashioned machinery for weaving cloth as well as horse drawn farm machinery. They might even watch some bread being baked in a 18th century oven and perhaps get to taste it! Mrs Lockley used her Blue Footprints to highlight the footprints she expected them to use during the day.
“Now, on this trip, we need to use our Yellow Footprints. Who can remember what Yellow Footprints are like?” she asked. Several hands shot up. They had learned about Yellow Footprints just last week. Unlike Blue Footprints which were strong and firm, Yellow Footprints were careful and patient. They were especially useful for noticing what was happening around you, listening to others and looking out for one another.
“And why do you think we need to use our Yellow Footprints on this trip boys?” she asked.
“So we listen to what we are told to do, and make good choices?” suggested one boy.
“So that no one is left out or gets lost?” another boy volunteered, “and we respect other people in the museum?” finished off another.
“Exactly,” responded Mrs Lockley positively, “that way everyone will enjoy the day.”
On the morning of the trip all the children excitedly lined up in pairs to get on the coach. All the children, that is, apart from Freddy. He stood on his own at the back of the line without a friend to stand by. Alistair turned round and caught his eye. He could see Freddy was upset.
“Hey Freddy, do you want to come and sit with us?” called Alistair, realising that now was a moment to use Yellow Footprints. Freddy was so pleased. “Thanks,” he said, “that would be great.”
Freddy wasn’t bad really. Alistair and his other friend Milly quickly found they had lots in common, most important of which was football. Milly was a bit unusual as a girl because she adored football and knew all the teams and their players.
“All the best teams use Yellow Footprints,” claimed Milly. “That way, they work as a team; they listen to their coach, notice what is happening around them and value each other’s skills. That’s the secret to a winning team.”
“Yeah,” agreed Freddy, “it’s no good if everyone uses Blue Footprints on the pitch. Everyone would think they were in charge; they would just argue all the time. Only the captain should be using Blue Footprints.”
“And the ref of course!” chipped in Alistair who remembered the time he got fouled in the last match, leaving a nasty bruise on his shin.
When they arrived at the museum, Mrs Lockley used Yellow Footprints by trusting groups of children to explore on their own. Each group rushed off excitedly, using Orange Footprints, to try and discover as much as they could. The boys all wanted to see the bread being made, hoping to get some.
“Hey Alistair,” called over the biggest boy in the class, Jonathan. “Better get to the bakery or I’ll have eaten all the bread before you lot get there! See ya!”
Alistair felt really frustrated. He’d have loved to have rushed off with all his other friends and got some of that bread. Instead, he was stuck with Freddy, who seemed interested in looking at all the weaving and spinning machines. So did Milly.
“Come on you two!” urged Alistair after what seemed like an age looking at more wheels and cotton being spun.
“Be patient!” called back Milly. “Remember, Mrs Lockley asked us to use Yellow Footprints: to take our time, notice new things and listen to what the group wants to do, not just rush off doing what each person wants to do. There will be plenty of time.”
“No there won’t,” thought Alistair to himself, as his tummy rumbled. “All the bread will be long gone!” He’d just seen Jonathan and his hungry gang rush off to the bakery. They traipsed round more of the exhibits in the museum and finally, arrived at the bakery.
“Ummmh, delicious!” came a satisfied voice from inside. They walked in to see Jonathan and his friends polishing off the very last of the freshly baked bread.
“Sometimes you see Alistair, if you don’t use Blue Footprints you don’t get what you want!” grinned a smug Jonathan, patting his fat, filled tummy. At that moment the baker, who has been busy kneading bread, turned to greet his crestfallen new arrivals with a smile on his face. He seemed to know one of them already.
“Hi Dad!” smiled Freddy, with a knowing glint in his eye.
“What? You mean your dad works here?” cried out Milly in disbelief.
“Of course! My dad’s been the baker here for years.”
“Yes,” chuckled Freddy’s dad,“ and I’ve been saving something extra special for you and your new pals. Let me see......” The cheery baker reached down and pulled out a big bag of delicious chocolate buns and sugary donuts, steaming fresh from the oven.
“Cor! Thanks Dad. They smell fab! I’ll share them with my new mates.” Jonathan and the others watched, green with envy, as Alistair, Milly and Freddy walked out, with huge smiles on their sticky, sugary lips.
“Looks like Yellow Footprints won the day in the end hey Jonathan?” joked Freddy. Alistair and Milly just grinned. They had a new mate.