The Power of Example

There is form of communication  that transcends the  power of words   Joseph B. Wirthlin

The Power of Example

Some of the world’s top squash players used to practise at the squash club where I play. I remember well the first time I saw at close hand a high-level squash game. It was the son of one of our regular group of players, who at the time was ranked number 11 in the world. He came to practice at our club with the world number 2.

We all watched in amazement. We had never seen anything like it. In fact, if that was ‘squash’, what we played should be called something else!

Watching them always raised our game. Suddenly we realized that it was possible to return practically any shot your opponent could serve you, however good they were. We saw how important it was to get back to the middle of the court after each shot. We watched how deep they hit the ball. We noticed the shots that they avoided playing.

When we went on court after that, we astonished ourselves by how well we played. Of course, we did not play anywhere near as well as them. But, inspired by their example, we played a whole lot better than usual.

During my Christian life I have found the same pattern. For example, I had the privilege of working for Sandy Millar for nineteen years. Through watching his life and hearing him preach I was always inspired by his example. Even though reaching the level of those who are examples to us might not be possible, hopefully it inspires us to raise our game.

A Christian is someone who believes in Jesus, puts their faith in him, knows him and lives ‘in Christ’. It is also someone who follows his example.

There is no greater example in human history than the example of Christ. Paul writes, ‘Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

1. Example of your life

Proverbs 20:5-14How you live affects others. You look to others for an example. Others look to you as an example. This happens whether you like it or not.

Nowhere is this more the case than with parents and children. I have noticed how many of my father’s eccentricities I seem to have picked up. Of course, parents provide examples in more serious ways too: ‘The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them’ (v.7).

Parents who live lives of integrity bring great blessings to their children. Billy Graham said, ‘Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.’

No one has ever lived a perfect life apart from Jesus: ‘Who among us can be trusted to be always diligent and honest?’ (v.9, MSG). Nevertheless, we can all seek to live a life that is a good example.

Parents need to demonstrate faithfulness to each other, treating one another with patience and respect, resolving disagreements with grace, supporting one another in hardship and not being drawn into inappropriate relationships with other people. ‘Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?’ (v.6).

Today’s inspirational articles shared from the following website:

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Leadership and Teaching: Rule With the Heart of a Servant – Serve With the Heart of a King

I am grateful for the wonderful teachers that I have been blessed with in my life. I am also grateful for those individuals that have set the example of true leadership for me.

Virtually all of them have been both a teacher and a leader. Each of them is a priceless treasure I store in my heart. Though none of them has been perfect, they each have emulated, in some way, the example of leadership and heart that the Savior shared with mankind.

We each have the opportunity to share our influence, our wisdom and our love. We never know the extent that our service, love and teaching will reach.

I think often of a friend who shared with me long ago that she didn’t remember well what she what was taught but she remembered well how a few of her most treasured leaders and teachers made her feel. That is the kind of teacher and leader I want to be!

Whether you are a school teacher, Sunday School teacher, friend, parent, or business person, etc. – our influence is felt daily by those we interact with. What we say and what we do makes a difference!

I hope you will join me in trying to be a positive influence in the world!

I also hope you enjoy today’s story! It is wonderful!

Mrs Thompson – The Teacher

Mrs. Thompson exemplifies the type of leadership we should all take notice of. She helped this little boy, Teddy, feel like he was important and changed his life. It’s amazing what kindness can do. Teachers are some of the greatest leaders there are. This is a great holiday; make you feel good, type of story. I hope it is meaningful to you in each of your leadership capacities at work, home, church or wherever.

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 around..’

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 pets..’

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was 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 w ith it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. 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 difference.’

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.

Story shared from the following website:

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Sister is feeding her little brother and he drinks milk using drinking straw, isolated over white

I believe that the world could be changed by kindness and good deeds. When I think of those moments that a stranger or friend (it doesn’t matter) has given me a pat on the back or extended a kindness or courtesy, I immediately perk up and feel better about myself and the world! I once taught a Sunday School lesson at my church. I don’t remember the topic of the lesson but I do remember asking those in attendance how much they thought we could make a difference if we just selected one store and made a point to be kind, cheerful and helpful every time we shopped in that store. When I contemplated my own question, I decided that the difference could be enormous! Since then, I have tried to be that kind of person wherever I shop. I don’t know if my attempts to be kinder have been noticed but I do know that I feel better about myself and I know that, at the very least, my efforts may help someone have a better day. I think that alone makes being kinder worth it!


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And They Lived Happily Ever After

I love Disney …in fact the last time my family went to Disneyland, I was right there in the middle of the pack helping my grandchildren (mostly my granddaughters) get their pictures taken with Disney Royalty. However, if there is one concern I have with Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White and their fellow princesses it is that they all have a happy ever after that seems to come magically without any effort.

Love and marriage between a man and a woman is meant to be happily ever after but in real life it only comes with deliberate effort.

I am blessed to be a part of a wonderful marriage. My husband and I have been married for over 34 years now. In celebrity years, that is almost forever!

You might think that we have just been extra lucky or that each of us has an extraordinary amount of patience.

The truth is that we have been very blessed and we ALSO have been willing to cherish our marriage, make it a priority, and work really hard at keeping our relationship strong and healthy.

For us, getting to know each other is an unending process. We both understand that our courtship and relationship building did not end with “I Do” – it is an essential daily component of our marriage.

These things have been important to the success of my marriage and I believe they are important to other successful marriages as well:

·    We are best friends
·    We set aside time for date nights and other “Just Us” activities
·    We have interests in common and we do things together
·    We are committed to working out our differences
·    We share common values and beliefs
·    We understand the importance of being unselfish
·    We know that the best gift we could ever give our children is parents who are lovingly     committed to each other
·    We have fun together
·    We recognize that every worthwhile endeavor (including our marriage) requires good old fashioned work
·    We genuinely like and respect each other
·    We are able to acknowledge and honor our differences
·    Probably most important – We make God an essential part of our marriage

My husband and I were both eye witnesses to the less than stellar marriages of our parents. Those marriages eventually ended in divorce. However, even though we have witnessed troubled marriages within our circle of family and friends, we have also been blessed to witness some really wonderful marriages. Those strong marriages have been an important example for me and my husband.

Marriage is meant to be a wonderful and fulfilling experience and when the right attitudes and priorities are in place – I know it can be all of that and more.

Although wearing crowns and dressing up in gowns and tuxedos isn’t likely to do much for our marriages – marriage really can be Happily Ever After! Happily Forever after We Give Our Best Efforts to our Marriage!

PS – For those married couples who struggle with their relationship in the bedroom – a really wonderful and sensitive book that I would highly recommend is And They Were Not Ashamed by Laura M. Brotherson.

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Seeing Others As They May Become

Many years ago, when I was in high school, there was a young man by the name of Carl who expressed quite a bit of interest in me. When my debate coach got wind of Carl’s interest, she quickly expressed her opinion. She warned me to stay away from him – telling me that I was too good for him.

My coach was well meaning but somewhat misguided. I know she was trying to be protective of me but she didn’t really understand the good heart this young man had.

I didn’t actually date Carl but I ended up having a few conversations with him. His was a life filled with difficulty and tragedy. His parents were divorced. His father had abandoned the family. His mother was alcoholic and not inclined to look after her son. The only positive thing he seemed to have in his life was a grandfather that loved and cared for him.

By all outward appearances, Carl was not the kind of guy someone would want their daughter hanging out with. At the tender age of 18 Carl had alcohol abuse issues of his own, got a girl pregnant, lived on his own and was well-known for racing (and wrecking) cars and trucks on country roads.

Would Carl have been a positive influence on me? The answer is probably no. However, there is more to this story that needs expressing. After my conversations with Carl, it was plain to me (even back then) that the greatest tragedy of his life was the ability of his life circumstances to convince him that he was of no worth.

Certainly, his parents had done little to convince Carl of his worth and potential. Apparently, the influence of friends and other family members was not able to get the job done either. At the age of 20, Carl committed suicide.

I was reminded of Carl’s tragic story as President Monson spoke of “Seeing others as they may become” at our most recent general conference.

It is not hard for me to believe that Carl could have been helped immensely by others seeing him as he had the potential to become – instead of judging him and determining that he was not “good enough”.

By the time Carl took his life, he had married, divorced and become the father of a little girl. In his own way, by taking his life, Carl had perpetuated his family’s tradition of father abandonment.

It was a somber day the day I heard of Carl’s death. I remembered only too well the last time I had seen Carl – most of all, I remembered that I had ignored him. I did not say hi or acknowledge him in any way. Needless to say, on that day long past, I had made no effort to see Carl as he might have become and I certainly did nothing to help him to feel better about himself. It was a haunting thought for me as I realized that just one kind word, one kind gesture or just one person’s ability to acknowledge Carl’s inherent worth might have literally saved his life and saved his small daughter from a life without her father. I might have been that person but instead, I had ignored him.

We can all think of a time when someone’s small gesture, warm smile or act of kindness has been huge in its impact on us. President Monson’s words have reminded me of my own need to make a difference in the lives of others. I am also reminded that my efforts do not have to be on a grand scale to be meaningful or to make a difference.

If others have made a difference in your life or if you have a story in which you or someone you know benefited by someone’s act of kindness and/or ability to look upon the heart instead of outward appearances and you would be willing to share, please send your story to me at I look forward to hearing from you!

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