Chased by an Angry Momma Bear


When I was 11 years old, I went to Yellowstone National Park with my father and other fathers and sons from our church. It was supposed to be a fun filled adventure with our fathers and friends. It started out that way and ended well but, in the middle, we experienced an event none of us expected or necessarily wanted.

This most memorable experience occurred on the second day when we were touring the park. It was exciting for me because I had never been to Yellowstone Park before and neither had my father (which was strange because he grew up in Afton, Wyoming, which was only about 80 miles or so from his hometown). 

Anyway, the bus driver was a member of our congregation, and he was a great and amiable man who would do anything to help us have fun. He never had any kids of his own, but he and his wife were always kind and thoughtful to the young men and women in the church.

On this particular day we saw a momma bear with two cubs halfway up a small hill and we begged him to stop. He pulled the bus over to the side of the road and most of us got out so we could take a picture of this mother bear resting with her cubs a short distance from the bus. We slowly walked towards them with our camera’s ready to take a never to be forgotten picture and before long we learned that this was a serious mistake.

We didn’t realize how protective a momma bear could be, so we got too close, and she became uncomfortable, so what did she do? She charged us. We weren’t the brightest people in the world, but we knew enough to get out of there, so we turned and started running back to the bus, but I had a problem. I was the smallest and slowest so I would have been the one that she pounced on, but she didn’t. She stopped and watched us for a moment and then sauntered back to her cubs. 

Now you may be wondering what we did next but if you are an eleven or twelve-year-old boy who considers themselves invincible, the answer is obvious. We climbed out of the bus and started back up the hill towards the momma bear and her cubs. And sure enough, just like the first time she charged again. This time she decided she had it with teenage boys and decided to make an example out of me (remember I was the smallest and slowest).

I was running for my life as fast as my four foot something legs would move but before reaching the bus I tripped and the mad Yellowstone monster was on top of me, licking her lips and baring her teeth. I knew she was planning to eat me for lunch so while preparing to meet my maker I had enough awareness to say a prayer. I only had time to offer a short one so I prayed that the bear sitting on top of me would be a Christian bear. After I finished praying, I carefully opened my eyes and noticed she had her paws folded and I heard her say, “Please bless this food which I am about to eat!”

While it is true that a momma bear chased me, and my friends while on this trip and I was the last one to the bus, I obviously made up the ending about the praying bear. Why would I do that other than to get some laughs?  


Because this story is a reminder that humor is an important resiliency skill we can use to strengthen our children. Humor helps to break tension and put life in perspective. Also, when we have humor in our lives our children can relax around us, and we can all enjoy the special moment.

Happy Failing Forward,

Calvert Cazier

PS Want to help your kids have less stress and more success at home and school? CLICK HERE to get a copy of our book, The Resiliency Toolkit: A Busy Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, Confident, Successful Children.

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