"In the beginning"

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The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Memories: We hold onto


One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.
Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.
It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.
That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.
On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments.
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter.
The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.
Several years later, one of the students was killed in
Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.
The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.
As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Tom's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes."
Then he said: "Tom talked about you a lot."
After the funeral, most of Tom's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Tom's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.
"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Tom when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."
Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Tom's classmates had said about him.
"Thank you so much for doing that," Tom's mother said. "As you can see, Tom treasured it."
All of Tom's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."
Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."
"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."
That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Tom and for all his friends who would never see him again.
The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.
So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

Worth a read don't you think?

6 comments:

Merle said...

What a terrific story that I have not heard before. It is an idea that teachers could choose to copy.
What a brilliant brother I have!!

Peter said...

Thank you from your "brilliant" brother

bubba said...

I have read that story before. But it never loses any meaning. I agree with Merle, " brilliant".

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yes, I read this somewhere else. But this doesn't make it any less emotionally powerful.

Maria said...

I am a teacher and this story never fails to move me. In my classroom of eight or nine year olds, we did a similiar exercise. My students passed small marble sized cotton balls to each other along with a compliment. This was a daily occurence for about a month and each day they checked their list to see who to compliment the next day. These compliments were called "warm fuzzies". I think it helped their self-esteem a lot and there is a special skill to giving and receiving compliments.

Peter said...

Nice to see the positive comments on this story, it shows we are all "nice" people.
It's by my favourite author, anonymous.