Six-year-old Taylor loved stickers—big ones with lots of colors, and little ones that you could barely see. Sometimes he put them on papers or notebooks. And sometimes he put them on himself. Once he put an orange sticker on his arm, and a blue one on his chin. Another day he put a dog sticker on the toe of each tennis shoe. Today Taylor had a new sticker. He put it on his shirt, right in the middle of his chest.
Megan, his older sister, noticed the new sticker. “Where did you get that one?”
“Off the new socks Mom bought me yesterday,” Taylor said. “Isn’t it great?”
Megan leaned close enough to read the sticker on her brother’s shirt and began to chuckle.
“What’s so funny?” Taylor asked defensively.
“It’s your sticker. It’s so—”
Taylor covered the sticker with his hand. “What’s the matter with it?”
Mom heard the discussion and came into the room. “What’s going on here?”
“Megan’s making fun of my sticker.”
“No, I wasn’t,” Megan responded. “I promise. It’s just so cute! Look at what it says, Mom.”
Mom lifted Taylor’s hand from the sticker and read aloud, “Stain-resistant sole.”
“What does it mean?” Taylor asked.
Mom answered with a smile, “It means that some kind of protection was put on the bottom of your socks so that they won’t get dirty as easily.”
“Don’t you get it, Mom? Taylor has a stain-resistant soul! S-o-u-l!” Megan chuckled again.
“I don’t want people laughing at me,” Taylor said, starting to rip the sticker off.
Mom reached out to him. “We’re not, Taylor. You see, soul can be spelled two ways. One way, s-o-l-e, means the bottom of your foot—that’s what the sock that this sticker was on protects. The other spelling, s-o-u-l, means you—your body and spirit together. So when Megan said that you have a stain-resistant soul, that’s good. It means that you are trying your best to do what is right and keep your soul—your body and spirit—clean.”
Taylor smiled at Megan and decided to leave the sticker on. “May I go outside to play now?”
“Sure, but come right home for dinner when I call you.”
Taylor ran out the back door and saw his brother’s skateboard. His brother didn’t like other people riding it without his permission, but he was away for the weekend. Great! Taylor thought. He put one foot on the skateboard, then thought of his sticker and took his foot off the board. He wanted to stay a stain-resistant soul.
He looked up and saw his best friend, Colby, running out of his garage. “Colby—wait up!”
“You’re just in time,” Colby said excitedly. “I’m going to light some firecrackers.”
Taylor stopped. “My mom says I’m not supposed to light matches unless a grown-up’s with me.”
“She won’t know. Come on—it’ll be fun!”
Taylor started to follow his friend. Then he thought of his sticker. Would lighting firecrackers keep my soul stain-resistant? No. Maybe there’s something else we can do. He said, “I don’t want to do that, Colby. Let’s play on the trampoline.”
Colby liked Taylor’s idea, so the two boys jumped on the trampoline until Taylor’s mom called him. Taylor hurried home.
“Wash your hands,” Mom reminded him as he rushed into the kitchen. He went into the bathroom and turned on the water. He saw Taffy, their cat. She hated water, and Taylor loved to tease her by splashing water at her. But just as he aimed his wet hands at her, he remembered his sticker. He couldn’t tease the cat and stay a stain-resistant soul, so he dried his hands, and ran to the kitchen.
His dad was just coming in from the other direction. “How’s my big boy?” Dad gave Taylor a hug. “Hey, what’s this on your shirt? Another sticker?”
“Oh, that’s a special sticker,” Mom said.
“He got it off his new socks,” Megan added.
“Stain-resistant sole?” Dad asked. “Why is that so special?”
“Don’t you get it, Dad?” Taylor blurted out. He thought about how he had resisted riding on his brother’s skateboard without permission, how he had resisted playing with fire at Colby’s house, and how he had even resisted teasing Taffy. “I’m a stain-resistant s-o-u-l!”