AUGUST 2010 ‘USELETTER’
Okay, before I even start ... this month is a tear jerker! I recently received a very thought provoking email about how we treat others, so my focus this month will be on exactly that. You must admit, I am really tackling an array of topics, from the financial last month, to the emotional this month. Who said life as boring!
I have also uploaded some new 'Quick Tips' this month, and they all have to do with tips on travelling. Really practical information, so make sure you check it out before you fly again. Seems that today, it's the norm to jump on a plane and fly off to a foreign land. These tips are sure to make your life easier. Just click here to view.
When I took over as National President of the Professional Speakers Association SA this year, my theme for the year is one of 'Giving'. This month's inspiration kinda ties in with that. Stop being judgemental and complaining about how bad life is, but rather practice giving to others. For one moment just consider if everyone around you did that, then suddenly everyone you meet would be giving you something. And I don't mean materialistic, but simply respect and time. When last have you erroneously judged someone negatively on your first impression, then afterwards realised that your judgement was cruel and unfair?
It doesn't matter how another person behaves, there is always a reason for their behaviour. Once you understand this, you are in a position to deal with them accordingly and to make a positive difference in that person's life.
As she stood in front of her primary 5 class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils 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 Koko Bassey. Mrs. Thompson had watched Koko 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, Koko 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 Koko's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Koko's primary 1 teacher wrote, "Koko 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 primary 2 teacher wrote, "Koko is an excellent pupil, 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 primary 3 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." Koko's primary 4 teacher wrote, "Koko 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 realised the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her pupils brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Koko'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.
Koko 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 Koko. 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, Koko had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Koko became one of her "teacher's pets."
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Koko, 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 Koko. He then wrote that he had finished secondary 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 the university 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, Koko A. Bassey, MD. The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Koko 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 Koko remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Bassey 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, "Koko, 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! Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? Tomorrow? just "do it".
I think they call it 'Random acts of kindness.' Find time to laugh, but not at others weaknesses!