Kindness / Tales Out of School

Kindness / Tales Out of School


Early in the year, I’d share the Parable of Heaven and Hell, in which people can’t eat because their elbows won’t bend (or their chopsticks are too long). I’ve recorded it on my CD, but I also like this version
The lesson, “In heaven they feed each other,” set the expectation that we are to help each other and made life in the classroom a bit more pleasant.

Once when I complimented a student for putting away others’ books, I added, “Actually, everyone in this class is helpful. I like that about you.”
He wasn’t sure I was being sincere, and when I assured him I meant it, he said, “No one has ever said anything nice about me or any group I’ve been a part of.”
“Well then, it’s about time . . . .”

I once had a young man come to take his final for my class, even though he had stolen his grandma’s car and was on the run from the police. The principal came to ask why I hadn’t marked him absent. I produced his completed exam and told his principal that he knew he’d be in even worse trouble if he skipped my exam. The truth, more likely, was that he had friends in that class, a very supportive group of students, and he needed to be with friends. I’m glad the police hadn’t come when he was taking the test, as I would have been foolish enough to ask them to please wait until he finished.

One of my high school students confided, “My grandma tried to teach me knitting, but I wasn’t interested. Now she’s gone.” I told her I’d be her grandma, and she brought her knitting to my classroom at lunch time. Quick learner, too.


When my mom was hospitalized, my students helped me with cards, prayers, words of comfort, and their very best behavior and cooperation. Once when I had rushed out to take a call on Mom’s care, a student was in the hall as I hurried to return . . . to wave me back to take another call, mouthing “Line Two” and signaling with two fingers. When I thanked one student, she said, “Do you remember last year when I needed help? Now it’s your turn.”

I saw an article in Smithsonian Magazine about a clock that sounded a distinct bird call for each of the 12 hours and happened to mention it in passing to one of my classes. A young man immediately informed me that I could get one at Walgreen’s, “I stocked them just last night. They are on row . . . “ Mom loved that clock, which I picked up as soon as school was over, and which I now have at my house.


A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Kuentz
    Apr 13, 2015 @ 11:21:17

    Such a nice read on kindness Mary! So glad you were (and are) an educator for those kids — and grandma:)


  2. Lanise Brown
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 03:32:44

    The world needs more kindness, and I’m glad you’ve showed so much to so many. Thanks for the lovely post.


  3. storytellermary
    Apr 14, 2015 @ 06:59:27

    Thanks! The lovely thing is that kindness encourages more kindness.


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