A woman named Mary Ann Bird tells her story: “I grew up knowing that I was different, and I hated it. 1 was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I must look to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth and garbled speech. When my schoolmates would ask, ‘What happened to your lip?’ I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered anaccident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me. “There was, however, a teacher in the second grade that we all adored, Mrs. Leonard by name. She was a short, round, happy, sparkling lady. Annually, we would have a hearing test. Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something and we would have to repeat it back. .. things like ‘The sky is blue’ or ‘Do you have new shoes?’ 1 waited there for those words which God must have put into her mouth, those seven words which changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, ‘I wish you were my little girl.'”
_ William J Bausch
Being accepted and appreciated in spite of her physical defect by her kindly teacher changed her whole life for Mary Ann Bird. A little kindness on our part many a time can make a world of difference for someone.
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