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WITandWISDOM(tm) - May 8, 2001

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

"The highest reward for man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it." - John Ruskin

Source: Weekend Encounter, by Dick Innes, Copyright 2000, http://www.actsweb.org/subscribe.htm

~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:

Eighteen Years Late
By Michael T. Powers

Junior high is probably the worst time in young people's lives. Bodies are changing in ways they never thought possible, and they spend most of their time trying to fit into a mold that peers have formed for them. Gone are the days of Elmer's glue, crayons, and the tiny scissors with the rounded edges. (Yes, they are trusted with the sharp-edged scissors in junior high.) From here on out, they have their own lockers, carry their books to each class, and start making their own decisions about which classes to take.

What I remember most about junior high, however, was the incredible pain and heartache that students inflicted on one another with their words and actions. There were students who seemed to have it all together, and made those around them feel as if they didn't measure up. It wasn't until much later that I learned that those who ripped on others suffered from a terrible self-image, so in order to make themselves feel better, they tore others down. In fact, they were usually a totally different person from the one they presented to the outside world.

I didn't have the best self-image in junior high, and there were two things that I fell back on to be accepted: athletics and humor. I have always been a decent athlete, which brought a certain confidence and comfort level in my life, and I have always been able to make people laugh. At times the laughter came at another's expense, unfortunately, and most times I didn't fully realize what I was doing to the self-images of those around me, particularly one classmate of mine.

Her name was Tracy and she had a crush on me. Instead of nicely letting her know that I wasn't interested in her, I got caught up in trying to be funny, with her being the brunt of my jokes. I am ashamed now to think of how I treated her in seventh grade. I went out of my way to make things miserable for her. I made up songs about her, and even wrote short stories in which I had to save the world from Tracy the evil villain.

That all changed about half way through the year, however. Mr. Greer, my physical education teacher, came up to me one day.

"Hey, Mike, you got a second?"

"Sure, Mr. Greer!" I said. Everybody loved Mr. Greer, and I looked up to him like a father.

"Mike, I heard a rumor that you were going around picking on Tracy?" He paused and looked me straight in the eye. It seemed like an eternity before he continued. "You know what I told the person I heard that from? I told them it couldn't possibly be true. The Mike Powers I know would never treat another person like that. Especially a young lady."

I gulped, but said nothing.

He gently put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I just thought you should know that." Then he turned and walked away without a backward glance, leaving me to my thoughts.

That very day I stopped picking on Tracy.

I knew that the rumor was true, and that I had let my role-model down by my actions. More importantly, though, it made me realize how badly I must have hurt this girl and others for whom I had made life difficult.

It was probably a couple of months later before I fully realized the incredible way in which Mr. Greer had handled the problem. He not only made me realize the seriousness of my actions, but he did it in a way that helped me to save some of my pride. My respect and love for him grew even stronger after that.

I don't think I ever apologized to Tracy for my hurtful words and actions. She moved away the next year, and I never saw her again. While I was very immature as a seventh grader, I still should have known better. In fact, I did know better, but it took the wisdom of my favorite teacher to bring it out into the light.

So, Tracy, if you're out there, I am truly sorry for the way that I treated you, and I ask for your forgiveness--something I should have done eighteen years ago.

Michael T. Powers
Thunder27@aol.com

Copyright 2000 by Michael T. Powers, All rights reserved

Michael is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi, and has two young boys. He is an author, speaker, business owner, and founder of "Straight From the Heart," a free daily E-zine that features inspirational and uplifting stories, often by published writers. To subscribe send an email to: Thunder27@aol.com or visit: Straight From the Heart http://www.StraightFromTheHeartList.com

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

Margaret Rudkin was living a very, very good life. Her husband's wealth afforded them and their three children not only a Tudor mansion in Connecticut but also an ancient manor house in Ireland and a new home in Florida. Then two catastrophes struck the Rudkin family, one after another. The first one was the Great Depression, which immediately wiped out Mr. Rudkin's financial resources. The second was the discovery that the health of the youngest of her three sons was in danger. The youth had a severe allergy to various common foods, including commercially produced bread.

Using an abandoned greenhouse on the family estate, Mrs. Rudkin began baking bread much the way she remembered her grandmother having made it. The grandmother used stone-ground flour, honey, molasses, and other natural, healthy ingredients. Not only did Margaret's son like the bread, but it seemed to improve his condition.

Mrs. Rudkin shared her bread with neighbors, and word about its quality and excellent taste began to spread. Soon she found herself baking so much bread that she had to hire people to help produce and distribute it. And, of course, she began selling rather than giving her bread away.

One day Mr. Rudkin took some loaves to an upscale shop in New York City. There it sold quickly - even at twice the price of ordinary bread. To their astonishment, the Rudkins discovered they were establishing a bakery business. They decided to name their company after their estate - Pepperidge Farm. Sales continued to increase, often doubling and tripling from year to year as Pepperidge Farm continued adding new bakery products. In 1960 the Rudkins sold their business to the Campbell Soup Company for $28 million!

By Victor M. Parachin, from Claremont, California in Signs of the Times, Copyright (c) October 2000, Pacific Press, http://www.pacificpress.com/signs

Submitted by Dale Galusha

~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:

"The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping up and down." - Rita Rudner

Source: Saturday Smile http://www.coolnewsletters.com/saturdaysmile.htm

~~~ ~~~~ TRIVIA:

As a shy teenager, Barbara Ann Kipfer began keeping a list of her favorite things. She carried a notebook with her wherever she went, and jotted down ideas as they occurred to her. Twenty years and dozens of spiral notebooks later, her list was published as a book titled "14,000 Things To Be Happy About."

14,000 Things to Be Happy About: The Happy Book, by Kipfer, Barbara A.; Le-Tan, Pierre (illustrator) Published by Workman Publishing Company, Incorporated (March 1990) ISBN: 0894803700, http://isbn.nu/0894803700/price

Source: The Timothy Report, Copyright (c) 2001 Swan Lake Communications, http://www.swanlake.twoffice.com


WITandWISDOM™ Copyright © 1998-2001 by Richard G. Wimer - All Rights Reserved
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