Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tell the people you love

Never Too Busy for a Friend

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students
in the 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.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate
sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

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 said: "Mark talked about you a

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

"They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize

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."

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her
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.

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