Johnny was at a wedding.  He saw Mr. Clark, one of his high school teachers.  Johnny said to him, “Do you remember me?”

Mr. Clark answered, “Not really. Who are you?”  Johnny introduced himself.

“Ah, you were my student…  third grade… you were my student. Wow! I haven’t seen you for so many years.  How’s your life? What are you involved in?”

Johnny said, “I’m a teacher.”

“That’s wonderful!” said Mr. Clark. “What inspired you to become a teacher?”

“What inspired me to become a teacher was you”,  Johnny continued.

Mr. Clark said, “Tell me, how did I inspire you to become a teacher?”

Johnny said, “I saw what an impact you had on me and I realized what an impact I could have on children and teenagers.  I decided to go into education.”

Mr. Clark said, “So what type of impact did I have on you?”

Johnny went on to say, “One day, in between classes I stole a beautiful, expensive pocket watch from Fred, one of my classmates.  It was his mother’s birthday present to him. Fred showed up after lunch break, telling you and the whole class that somebody had stolen his watch.”

Johnny continued, “I remember vividly how you addressed the class that afternoon asking that the watch be returned. I was too embarrassed to fess up and return the stolen watch.”

John went on to say, “You, Mr. Clark,  you locked the classroom door and asked the class to line up and close our eyes. And you went from pocket to pocket. You came to my pocket and you found the watch and you gently pulled it out.  You did not stop there. You continued, moving from pocket to pocket all the way to the end of the line. And you told us that it was OK for us to open our eyes.

You returned the pocket watch to Fred!  On that day you saved my soul. You saved my dignity. You never said anything about the incident to anyone, not to Fred who was happy to get back the pocket watch, not to anyone, and most surprisingly, not even to me.”

John, with a hint of tears in his eyes, went on to say, “Wow this is what a teacher is.  This is what a real educator is.  This is what I want to do with my life.”

Mr. Clark, listening attentively, says,  “That’s amazing, but truth be told, I don’t remember much of the story you just shared with me.”

John, curious, and wanting to learn, said, “But tell me Mr. Clark,  you really don’t remember the story? When you see me and you hear my name?  I’m sure you remember the story…  that I stole the pocket watch! I’m sure you remember that unique and unusual ritual of lining us up and how not wanting to embarrass the ‘thief’, you asked everybody to close their eyes!  You really don’t remember that I’m the person who stole the watch.”

And Mr. Clark said, “Actually I don’t. I don’t remember!”

“Why not? It’s a pretty dramatic story” Johnny said.

And Mr. Clark  concluded, “As I moved from pocket to pocket my eyes were closed too.”

Source: Unknown. Retold as remembered when I first heard it.


What do you think?  If you were the teacher in that classroom, how would you have acted? What would you have done differently?



When Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighbourhood, actually had to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.

What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglas’s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglas’s drawing was simply this:

A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. “I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student.

“A farmer,” said another, “because they grow the turkeys.” 

“It looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.” “I think,” said Lavinia, who was always so serious, “that it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.”

Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive. When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.

Douglas mumbled, “It’s yours, Teacher.”

Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas  …

Source: Reader’s Digest


Today consider the silent language of hands: “Hands calm us, feed us, and scratch our backs. They intimidate, bless, encourage, and stop us. They soothe and caress. They draw our attention to the good and the bad, often suggesting exuberance or fear.” – Charles Flowers in the introduction to Elliott Erwitt’s Handbook

Today give thanks for the gift of hands in your life, your own and those of others who companioned and are still companioning you on the path of life: helping hands, affirming hands, encouraging hands, healing hands, open hands.


A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.”  Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

  1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
  2. Taj Mahal
  3. Grand Canyon
  4. Panama Canal
  5. Empire State Building
  6. St. Peter’s Basilica
  7. China’s Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she  asked the girl if she was having trouble with her  list. The girl replied, “Yes, a little.  I couldn’t quite make up my mind because  there were so many.”

The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”  The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the ‘Seven  Wonders of the World’ are:

  1. To See
  2. To Hear
  3. To Touch/to feel
  4. To Taste
  5. To  Smell
  6. To Laugh
  7. To Love.”

The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.  The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for  granted  are truly wondrous!

Source | originally told by Joy Garrison Wasson. She taught English in Muncie, Indiana for over thirty years.  She died on October 15, 2009, after a long illness. She was only 62.


This is a gentle reminder that the most precious things in life  cannot be built by hand or bought by humans.  Very often we’re so busy looking for the big picture that we sometimes miss the little pictures that make it up.

  • People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains,  at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.  [Variant: Men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty billows of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, and pass themselves by.]  | Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
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