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.
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?” 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 Mark’s math teacher?” he asked. She nodded: “yes.” Then he
“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
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”
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.