- 1 - Most Important Lesson
- During my second month of college our professor gave
us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the
questions, until I read the last one:
- "What is the first name of the woman who cleans
the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning
woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50's but how
would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
- Just before class ended, one student asked if the last
question would count toward our quiz grade.
- "Absolutely," said the professor. "In
your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve
your attention and care even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."
- I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her
name was Dorothy.
- 2 - Second Important Lesson
- Pickup in the Rain - One night, at 11:30 PM, an older
African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying
to endure the lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately
needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
- A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard
of in those conflict-filled 1960s.
- The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance
and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote
down his address and thanked him.
- Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door.
To his surprise,a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special
note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on
the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but
also my spirits.
- Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make
it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless
you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
- Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
- 3 - Third Important Lesson
- Always remember those who serve
- In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table.
- A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
- "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
- "Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
- The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?"
- By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress
was growing impatient. "Thirty-five cents, she brusquely replied."
- The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have
the plain ice cream," he said.
- The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the
table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier
- When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she
wiped down the table.There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two
nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because
he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
- 4 - Fourth Important Lesson
- The Obstacle in Our Path
- In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway.
Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge
rock.Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and
simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the
roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching
the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone
to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
- After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he
noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse
contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the
gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant
learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity
to improve our condition.
- 5 - Fifth Important Lesson
- Giving When It Counts
- Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital,
I got to know a little girl named Liz, who was suffering from a rare and
serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion
from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease
and had developed the antibodies, needed to combat the illness.
- The doctor explained the situation to her little brother,
and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his
- I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a
deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it, if it will save her."
- As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to
his sister and smiled,as we all did, seeing the color returning to her
cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the
doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right
- Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor;
he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in
order to save her.You see, after all, understanding and attitude, is everything.