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
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.
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
On Monday she gave each student his or her list.
Before long, the entire class was smiling. 'Really?'
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.
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.
years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam 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.
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
As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as
pallbearer came up to her. 'Were you Mark's math teacher?' he asked.
She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'
the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a
luncheon. Mark'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 Mark
when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.'
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 Mark's classmates had said about
'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can
see, Mark treasured it.'
of Mark'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'.
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 Mark
and for all his friends who
would never see him again.
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.
please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special
and important. Let your friends know they are special, too.
them, before it is too late.
Do something nice and beautiful.
Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others
comes back into your own.