Wednesday January 22nd 2020

The Perfume : a life lesson worth reading

Thanks to my friend Penny Nel, again, for this inspirational piece. I am not in favour of sentimentality – but this one works for me. Enjoy.

(oh, and please forgive the formatting – it’s pasted from email)

PERFUME

> > As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the
> > very first day of school, she told the children an
> > untruth . Like most teachers, she looked at her
> >
> > students and said that she loved them all the same.
> >
> >
> >
> > However, that was impossible, because there in the
> >
> > front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named
> >
> > Teddy Stoddard.
> >
> >
> >
> > Mrs Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and
> >
> > noticed that he did not play well with the other
> >
> > children, that his clothes were messy and that he
> >
> > constantly needed a bath . In addition, Teddy could be
> >
> > unpleasant.
> >
> >
> >
> > It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually
> >
> > take delight in marking his papers with a broad red
> >
> > pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the
> >
> > top of his papers.
> >
> >
> >
> > At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was
> >
> > required to review each child’s past records and she
> >
> > put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed
> >
> > his file, she was in for a surprise.
> >
> >
> >
> > Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright
> >
> > child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and
> >
> > has good manners… he is a joy to be around.”
> >
> >
> >
> > His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent
> >
> > student, well liked by his classmates, but he is
> >
> > troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and
> >
> > life at home must be a struggle.”
> >
> >
> >
> > His third grade teacher wrote, ” His mother’s death has
> >
> > been hard on him He tries to do his best, but his
> >
> > father doesn’t show much interest and his home life
> >
> > will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”
> >
> >
> >
> > Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is
> >
> > withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He
> >
> > doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in
> >
> > class.”
> >
> >
> >
> > By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was
> >
> > ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her
> >
> > students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in
> >
> > beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for
> >
> > Teddy’s .
> >
> >
> >
> > His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown
> >
> > paper that he got from a grocery bag.
> >
> >
> >
> > Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of
> >
> > the other presents. Some of the children started to
> >
> > laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some
> >
> > of the stones missing , and a bottle that was
> >
> > one-quarter full of perfume . But she stifled the
> >
> > children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the
> >
> > bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the
> >
> > perfume on her wrist . Teddy Stoddard stayed after
> >
> > school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs.
> >
> > Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.”
> >
> >
> >
> > After the children left, she cried for at least an
> >
> > hour.
> >
> > On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing
> >
> > and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
> >
> > Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As
> >
> > she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive.
> >
> > The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.
> >
> > By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the
> >
> > smartest children in the class and, despite her lie
> >
> > that she would love all the children the same, Teddy
> >
> > became one of her “teacher’s pets.”
> >
> >
> >
> > A year later, she found a note under her door, from
> >
> > Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher
> >
> > he ever had in his whole life.
> >
> > Six years went by before she got another note from
> >
> > Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school,
> >
> > third in his class, and she was still the best teacher
> >
> > he ever had in his whole life.
> >
> > Four years after that, she got another letter, saying
> >
> > that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed
> >
> > in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate
> >
> > from college with the highest of honors . He assured
> >
> > Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite
> >
> > teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
> >
> > Then four more years passed and yet another letter
> >
> > came. This time he explained that after he got his
> >
> > bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further .
> >
> > The letter explained that she was still the best
> >
> > and favorite teacher he ever had But now his name was
> >
> > a little longer….The letter was signed, Theodore F.
> >
> > Stoddard , MD. The story does not end there. You see,
> >
> > there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said
> >
> > he had met this girl and was going to be married. He
> >
> > explained that his father had died a couple of years
> >
> > ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree
> >
> > to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually
> >
> > reserved for the mother of the groom.
> >
> > Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore
> >
> > that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones
> >
> > missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the
> >
> > perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on
> >
> > their last Christmas together.
> >
> > They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in
> >
> > Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs. Thompson for
> >
> > believing in me Thank you so much for making me feel
> >
> > important and showing me that I could make a
> >
> > difference.”
> >
> >
> >
> > Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.
> >
> > She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the
> >
> > one who taught me that I could make a difference. I
> >
> > didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Warm someone’s heart today . . . pass this along.
> >
> >
> >
> > I love this story so very much, I cry
> >
> > every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in
> >
> > someone’s life today? tomorrow? just “do it”.
> >
> > Random acts of kindness, I think they call it.
> >
> >”Believe in Angels, then return the favour”
> >

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