A Moving story.....

T

tbsiva

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students 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 Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy 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, Teddy 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 Teddy's off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy 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 second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an ex cellent 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, "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Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school.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 he sometimes sleeps in class."

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By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy'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 he r wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." [/FONT]


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 Teddy. 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, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets.."


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A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. [/FONT]


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 the best teacher he ever had in 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 college 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, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.



The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy 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 Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.



They
hugged ea ch other, and Dr. Stoddard 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, "Teddy, 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."



(For you that don't know, Teddy
Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)



Warm someone's heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone's life today? tomorrow? just "do it".



Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!


"Believe in Angels, then return the favor"
 
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Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Thanks for reminding me about snopes and its great vocabulary.

I once knew a minister who was addicted to telling "glurge" stories from the pulpit. Somehow, he was too clueless to note the sighs and eyeball rolling in the congregation as he would launch into another one of his saccharine sweet tales too good to be true.

I have one or two glurge tales in my own stock of stories, but I always tell my audiences, "Every story I tell is true, and some of them really happened;)"
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
Thanks for reminding me about snopes and its great vocabulary.

I once knew a minister who was addicted to telling "glurge" stories from the pulpit. Somehow, he was too clueless to note the sighs and eyeball rolling in the congregation as he would launch into another one of his saccharine sweet tales too good to be true.

I have one or two glurge tales in my own stock of stories, but I always tell my audiences, "Every story I tell is true, and some of them really happened;)"

:agree1: Good points, Wes. And maybe given the internet information overload many of us go through daily, we become more sensitive to whether something is true or not.

I can't speak for other cultures, but I know I told my kid bedtime stories, my parents the same, etc. However, we were all pretty clear we were in Fairy Land.:tg::D

Stories such as this are good, and I enjoy reading them, as long as they are given in the proper context. The context being, while it may be true or fiction, it can at least give us a little moral lesson for the day, so to speak.:)

Toastmasters taught be that there is an Art to telling Stories; of building something suspenseful and interesting; whether fact or fiction.:yes:
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
It occurs to me to make a distinction. I have two distinct and separate public speaking careers. In one, I concentrate on various aspects of business and, although I may combine two or three characters or rearrange chronology to make a smoother flowing narrative, the stories are factual, especially when I am giving keynote speeches or seminars.

My other public speaking career is strictly for entertainment: I tell stories for "mature minds" which are strictly entertainment. Some are based on true experiences, but ALL are practiced and tweaked to get the right vocabulary and rhythm in the story to deliver laughs, tears, nostalgia, etc. to fit the theme of a storytelling concert. As part of this storytelling career, I present seminars for colleges and even Toastmasters groups on how to write and/or present stories for entertainment. We talk about "stage presence," audience rapport, vocabulary choice, editing to fit tight timetables, etc., all in the interest of delivering a better experience for the audience.

A "glurge" like the one which heads this thread has a place as a morality tale, much like Andersen's "Ugly Duckling," but it's just irresponsible to present it as a true event which happened to real people. In a storytelling concert venue where I perform, the audience is expecting a "story" not a chronicle of true events. Even so, I often have audience members approach me after a concert asking, "Was that true?" - That's when I explain that storytelling often requires that even true events are tweaked for entertainment value. One story I tell that runs between 7 and 10 minutes is a condensation of real events I witnessed over 25 years in Community Theater in dozens of productions, but the story implies it all took place in one performance. So, the story is "true," but it could have never been captured in a 10 minute video.
 

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Why anyone is taken in by this dribble never ceases to amaze me. It can so easily be verified on a number of internet sites including hoaxbusters & snopes.
Yep. Consider, though, that the majority of these glurges are presented to us by personal acquaintances, like any good urban legend, and it includes details which appear to have been verified. (Typical email from "that guy" (the one who sends us all those forwarded emails about getting $100 rebates from Microsoft) because he wants to share the news.)

The story is a "feel good" tale which allows the reader/listener to share in the sense of being a "good guy."

Those of us who are professional cynics and curmudgeons are always suspicious. There is a story famously told about an editor at the old
Chicago News Bureau who told young reporters, "If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out with two independent sources."

Despite that, most of us don't question stories we WANT to be true.
 
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