I am a school teacher and this year I had for the first time a child I just could not seem to love....or to be honest....even like. I was at my wits end by the end of the first week of school when I realized that for eighteen weeks I would have to share breathing space with this student. During the third week of school I got an email from a friend...I had recieved this one before....but as I began to read it....I realized that Jean Thompson and I had a lot in common. I snoped this story and did some other research on its validity....because I did not want to be Jean Thompson....I was perfectly content to not like this student.....and everywhere I looked the results were the same....the story was NOT true....it was false....but was it? Sure, there may never have been a teacher named Jean Thompson....who had a Teddy Stoddard....but does that really make the story false? I am sure there are teachers all over the world who can compare themselves with Jean Thompson.....and I am sure there are students in every school that could have been Teddy Stoddard. I was living proof of that. After my students left that day....I too cried. I had judged someone unfairly.....oh I teach high school, so I did not get a bottle of this kids mom's perfume....and a broken bracelet....but I did learn a valuable lesson the day I truly read this story. I am a teacher of children. They don't all smell good, they don't all come from perfect homes, they don't all have a mom and dad at home with a warm supper waiting for them and parents to help them with their homework....BUT....they all have wonderful stories that God has provided them....and I can be the kind of teacher that makes them feel special......or I can be the one they never forget because I bruised their developing egos. I decided on that day....during the third week of school that I want to be the teacher who makes them feel special. I bowed my head in my room and asked God to open my heart to the students in my room....and let me love them as they were.....because He loves me....inspite of all my flaws. I want you to read the story today....and even if you are not a teacher....you have an impact on people's lives whether you believe it or not. I urge you today....think before you act.
Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. That was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt, that he constantly needed a bath, and that Teddy was unpleasant. It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all. Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him either.At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive 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, "Teddy continues to work hard but 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 sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored 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 of perfume that was one-quarter full. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind her wrists.Teddy Stoddard stayed behind 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, and writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy."As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class, and well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.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 his favorite teacher of all time. 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 graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs.Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.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 his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.Guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing, and I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like... well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.
THE MORAL: You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack thereof. Consider this fact in your venture through life. Please think before you act. Things are not always as they appear to be.