Many stories have been told and retold about love. Love in action, that is. As we start the New Year let us saturate ourselves with inspiring stories about love.
Let me share with you a story about love. May this story touch your hearts to encourage and inspire you to share your love with others. Especially with the victims of the typhoons and tropical storms that recently hit our country one after the other, causing massive destructions to life and property. After all, our supply of love never exhausts, never runs out.
This story that I am sharing with you was written by J. Hagee, a Christian writer. Titled “Love is Perfume,” it is a story about a teacher of fifth grade pupils. Setting is in the US. The teacher Mrs. Thompson had a pupil named Teddy Stoddard whom she did not like. Teddy was not well-dressed like the other pupils. Dirty too and did not mingle well with the other pupils. Mrs. Thompson enjoyed placing a failing grade on the papers of Teddy. Complying with the school requirements for teachers to review each pupil’s past record from grade one to grade four, Mrs. Thompson went through Teddy’s past school records.
Teddy’s records showed that he was a bright child with a ready smile. Had good manners and works neatly. An excellent student. Until his mother died. This was hard on Teddy. Especially with a father who did not show interest in Teddy. Teddy’s personality changed. He became withdrawn. No interest in school. No friends. After reading Teddy’s school records, Mrs. Thompson felt guilty of her shabby treatment of Teddy. She then realized why Teddy was behaving differently from the other children in her class.
One Christmas, Teddy gave a present to Mrs. Thompson. Clumsily wrapped in a heavy brown paper taken from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson opened the gift in the middle of other presents. The other children laughed when they saw a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But Mrs. Thompson stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on and then dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.
A happy Teddy stayed behind school to say to Mrs. Thompson, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to.” The teacher cried. With the teacher’s changed attitude towards Teddy, the mind of the boy seemed to come alive again. She encouraged him. He responded in a fantastic way. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class, and Teddy becomes one of the teacher’s pets. A year later, Teddy wrote a note to Mrs. Thompson telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by. Teddy finished third in his high school class. He wrote Mrs. Thompson again the same note – that she was still the best teacher she ever had in his whole life. Another four years passed. Teddy graduated from college with the highest honors. Again he wrote the same note to Mrs. Thompson. A fourth letter came after another four years. Teddy was then a full-pledged doctor and signed the letter as Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D. The letter of Teddy says that Mrs. Thompson was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. The story does not end here. When Teddy got married, Mrs. Thompson sat at the place usually reserved for the mother of the groom. She was wearing the bracelet, the one with several rhinestone missing. And wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
After the wedding, Teddy and his best and favorite teacher hugged each other. Teddy whispered to his teacher’s ears: “Thank you Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important. With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Thompson whispered: “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.”
Teachers should realize that the future of their students – their self-confidence, self-worth, self-esteem is in their hands. One sarcastic comment can be fatal. Parents and business executives too play a major role in the lives of their children and subordinates. They can also make a difference, like Mrs. Thompson.
Have a blessed New Year!
(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected])