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

His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent 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Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show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."

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 her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say,
"Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." 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

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

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 a renowned doctor at Iowa
Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing, one of the
best in the world.) I am sure you have felt a difference in your heart
after reading this story.

"Believe in Angels, then return the favor"

Remember: Making opinions is easy, making conclusions is difficult. Life
has so many sides, we need to look beyond and see the other side.