Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Heart Test

**This is why I want to be a teacher! This is the calling on my life, and may what God puts together let no man tear down! Get the tissue ready before you start to read this heart-warming story!

"Heart Test"
As she stood in front of her 5th grade classon the very first day of school, she told thechildren an

untruth. Like most teachers, shelooked at her students and said that sheloved them all the

same. However, that wasimpossible, because there in the front row,slumped in his seat, was a

little boy namedTeddy Stoddard.Mrs.. Thompson had watched Teddy the yearbefore and

noticed that he did not play wellwith the other children, that his clothes weremessy and that he

constantly needed a bath.In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant.It got to the point where Mrs..

Thompsonwould actually take delight in marking hispapers with a broad red pen, making bold

X'sand then putting a big "F" at the top of hispapers. At the school where Mrs. Thompson

taught, she was required to review each child'spast records and she put Teddy's off until

last. However, when she reviewed his file, shewas in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher

wrote, "Teddy isa bright child with a ready laugh. He doeshis work neatly and has good

manners....he is a joy to be around.."His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is anexcellent

student, well liked by his classmates,but he is troubled because his mother has aterminal illness

and life at home must be astruggle."His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother'sdeath has been

hard on him. He tries to dohis best, but his father doesn't show muchinterest and his home life

will soon affecthim if some steps aren't taken."Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddyis

withdrawn and doesn't show much interestin school. He doesn't have many friends andhe

sometimes sleeps in class."By now, Mrs.. Thompson realized the problemand she was ashamed

of herself. She felt evenworse when her students brought herChristmas presents, wrapped in

beautifu lribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the

heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocerybag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open itin the

middle of the other presents. Someof the children started to laugh when shefound a rhinestone

bracelet with some ofthe stones missing, and a bottle that wasone-quarter full of perfume. But

she stifledthe children's laughter when she exclaimedhow 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 myMom 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 beganto teach children. Mrs. Thompson

paid particular attention to Teddy. As she workedwith him, his mind seemed to come alive. The

more she encouraged him, the faster heresponded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become

one of the smartest children inthe class and, despite her lie that she wouldlove all the children

the same, Teddy becameone of her "teacher's pets."A year later, she found a note under her

door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still thebest teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six

years went by before she got another notefrom Teddy. He then wrote that he hadfinished high

school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life. Four years after

that, she got another letter,saying that while things had been tough attimes, he'd stayed in

school, had stuck with it,and would soon graduate from college withthe highest of honors. He

assured Mrs..Thompson that she was still the best andfavorite teacher he had ever had in

hiswhole life.Then four more years passed and yet anotherletter came. This time he explained

that afterhe got his bachelor's degree, he decided to goa little further. The letter explained that

shewas still the best and favorite teacher he everhad. But now his name was a little longer....The

letter was signed,Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.The story does not end there. You see, therewas

yet another letter that Spring. Teddy saidhe had met this girl and was going to be married.He

explained that his father had died a coupleof years ago and he was wondering if Mrs..Thompson

might agree to sit at the weddingin the place that was usually reserved for themother of the

groom.Of course, Mrs.. Thompson did. And guesswhat? She wore that bracelet, the one

withseveral rhinestones missing. Moreover, shemade sure she was wearing the perfume that

Teddy remembered his mother wearing ontheir last Christmas together. They hugged each

other, and Dr. Stoddardwhispered in Mrs.. Thompson's ear, "Thankyou Mrs.. Thompson for

believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feelimportant and showing me that I could

make a difference." Mrs.. Thompson, with tears in her eyes,whispered back. She said, "Teddy,

you haveit all wrong. You were the one who taughtme that I could make a difference. I

didn't know how to teach until I met you! ." (For those of you who don't know, TeddyStoddard

is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in DesMoines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.) Warm

someone's heart today. . . pass this along.I love this story so very much, I cry every timeI read

it. Just try to make a difference insomeone's life today? tomorrow? just "do it".Random acts of

kindness, I think they call it?"Believe in Angels, then return the favor"

**************************************************

"I believe that friends are quiet angels who liftus to our feet when our wings have troubleremembering how to fly."

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