Wednesday 9 January 2008

The list

This came in my mailbox today and since it ties in with my previous post, I feel that this is one list that everyone should have.

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 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. 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 Mark's math teacher?' he asked.
She nodded: 'yes.' Then he said: 'Mark talked about you a lot.'

After 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.'

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 Mark's classmates had said about him.

'Thank you so much for doing that,' Mark's mother said. 'As you can see, Mark treasured it.'

All 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'

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 Mark 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.


WaterLearner said...

Oh .. Such a touching story.

By the way Blur ... if you are giving away papers for people to write what they think about you..

You know what I would write?

I would say that you are really one strong woman that I hope to learn from. What you have walked through and emerged with grace and even a smile on your face .. many can't do.

Anonymous said...

yes i agree with everything Water Learner said.... so NOT... but are a brave and courageous woman that has gone through a lot but has come out stronger than ever before.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Ohhh now I'm inspired to teach.

Just for the sake of me telling my students to write down bad/negative things about others! HEE HEE (big evil smile)

The Real Mother Hen said...

Oh I love what waterlearner and jyankee have said.
You're indeed amazing :)

La delirante said...

What a sweet story :) Thanks for sharing :)

Have a wonderful day!

Blur Ting said...

Thank you ladies (blush)! I'm just a happy go lucky person I guess. I have 2 kids to feed, so I can't sit around and moan. I'll print it out and put in my wallet :-)

Amel said...

GREAT reminder! Just yesterday I told myself that I'd add another resolution: that is NOT holding back compliments...even though I'm not used to SAYING them out loud, I'm gonna try my best to say them anyway...after all, practice makes perfect (at least I assume it'll get easier and easier when I'm used to saying compliments) HE HE HE HE...

Blur Ting said...

Amel, it doesn't matter whether we make a list or not. They key is to find the method that works for you. Remember, be kind to yourself.

The World According To Me said...

This post sent a shiver down my spine!

What lovely comments you have received as well, and you truly deserve these comments.

Amel said...

YES, I'll remember to be kind to myself, THANKS, Blur he he he...Actually, what you've said to me MUCH earlier in some comments section propelled me to be kind to THANKS for that! ;-D

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