Stories of Kindness from Around the World

A Professor's Unforgettable Motto

--by Norman, posted Aug 27, 2008

I was priviledged to join a college which not only created an environment for attaining professional qualification but also ensured that each and every student left the college an all-rounded individual.

Most of the colleges in my country were commercially oriented and students tended to come in, have their lectures and off they went.  The lecturers in the college I attended always embraced higher ideals and many of the kids coming straight from high school would dread this college on the basis that it was strict. It was no bother to me anyway and I often looked forward to my college days.

One of the lecturers, in particular, captured my attention most, not because of his tutorial skills but by the way he would always walk and leave no dirt or paper behind him. He would always bend over and pick any piece of paper lying on the floor and throw it to the nearest dustbin. On his way to the office, he would always move the dustbins to the right position if left by the cleaners in  a wrong position.  Interestingly, this lecturer is now a professor and a director of some of the listed companies in the stock exchange.

Iinitially, when I watched him, I used to wonder, why bother.  However, growing up with this picture in mind, I have come to embrace the same practice. Walking down the street, I often unconciously bend over to pick that piece of paper blown away by wind from the dustbin or thrown without care on the street and place it on the next litter bin. Passing through a clean street and seeing one piece of litter lying around just moves me to leave the place clean.

As I look at the stunned faces around me whenever I do this, I often remember the story of the little girl who was walking on the beach and saw turtles washed ashore by the currents struggling to get back in the water. She picked them up one-by-one and threw them back in the water. One guy walking by asked her why bother since there are so many of them. She bent down, picked one up, looked at the guy and said, "i cannot save all of them, but I can sure make a difference to this one."  She then threw it back in the ocean.

So, I may not clean the whole town by picking litter but I sure can leave one pavement clean by doing so, one at a time.

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Readers Comments

Sydney wrote: I think this is a fantastic practice. Some time ago i was walking to work and i saw an old lady stop to pick up some trash and put it in the dustbin. It was amazing because she was struggling to walk and especially to bend down. She was using a walking cane so she had to balance the walking cane against the bin then lean on the side of the bin to help her to bend down and pick the rubbish up. The whole process took her ages but she still stopped to do it. It was incredible to watch and made me resolve to be more careful about picking up the trash when i see it lying on the ground. Your story has just reminded me of that.
Empath wrote: I appreciate your story. I have a professor now that i know i will never forget, every class he opens my eyes a little more to the world. I dedicate this post to my high school teacher mrs. Sadlow, who taught more than civic, she taught us how to fill out our tax forms, and how to read the new york times stock exchange. She gave us skills that are still part of my life today. To visionaries, who show instead of telling, i say cheers, job well done.
madhur wrote: The story brings out one thing clearly to me, be aware of your actions all the time, however small, never know who may learn what.

Will try to follow this myself.
sego wrote: Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do, i like your spirit. Most people would be discouraged by the amount of pollution in the world but you were not, well done!
BedBug wrote: I love that starfish story, and your story is a good accompaniment to it. Thanks.
barbo wrote: Love the story. I spent a lot of time in a county park for a few years. I used to pick up litter there on my walks. I just wanted to walk in a clean space. Your story is a good reminder. Thank you.
shradha wrote: Actions truly speak louder than words sometimes, don't they? Thank you for reminding me to putting my actions in harmony with my thoughts. :)
dazzle wrote: You're right, each person can make a difference. We all need to be aware that our own actions can make a significant impact. Thanks for the reminder.
Marietjie wrote: applause to you, for setting an example to everyone of us

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