Story by Kay Heitsch
“The way we choose to respond when others make mistakes can cause them to feel ashamed or can allow them to remember our kindness and share our stories with future generations.”Michelle Sedas
When I read the above quote I couldn’t help but think of Doris.* Doris was a little lady who lived in the memory care unit. She had been a science teacher by profession, but she also was a very creative person. All around her room were dolls that she had made. They were the most interesting dolls I’d ever seen; each was very different from the other.
From what I gathered from talking to Doris she’d taken a class in doll making. One day while I was in her room she took one of the dolls out of the case to show me. She said that this was the first doll she had ever made. This doll was very unusual with fine artistic work. The ceramic skirt was made of delicate ruffles. I was amazed that anyone could do such unique work.
As Doris was holding the doll very carefully she turned the doll in such a way that I could see a slight break in one of the ruffles on the skirt. Then she said, “Would you like me to tell you about this?” Of course, I was curious to know what happened. Doris said that on the way to class she bumped the side of the skirt. She expressed how she was devastated and almost didn’t go to class at all. When it came her turn to show the doll to the teacher, she had to point out the break in the skirt. Doris felt for sure that the doll would be rejected because of it. Much to her surprise the teacher told her she was just going to ignore this break and grade the doll on the other good qualities it had. Doris shared this remark and attitude from the teacher changed her life. She said she knew if that teacher hadn’t forgiven that small mistake she would never had made the rest of the dolls.
The quote at the beginning expresses what happened to Doris. This teacher could have made Doris feel ashamed by her mistake. But because of her willingness to ignore the mistake, Doris was sharing her kindness to the next generation.