Lesson on Gentleness

Joseph Lahey, a renowned Psychologist, as a child had a crippled back. Joseph hated his own body due to this misfortune.

One day he stood in line at school waiting to be examined by the school doctor. He dreaded the moment when the doctor would say, “Joe, remove your shirt.”

Finally the terrible moment came. Joe fumbled with the buttons. His hands were shaking badly. At last the shirt was off.

The doctor looked at him and then did something very unusual. He walked around the desk, cupped the boy’s face in his big hands, and looked straight into the boy’s eyes.

“Son,” he said gently, “do you believe in God?”

“Yes, sir,” said the boy.

“Good!” said the doctor, “The more you believe in him, the more you believe in yourself.”

Then the doctor examined Joe and went back to the desk and wrote something on the chart. Then he left the room for a minute.

Joe’s eyes looked at the chart. He wondered what the doctor had written. Bracing himself for the worst, he inched forward to peek at the chart.

Under the heading “Physical Characteristics,” the doctor had written: “Joe has an unusually well-shaped head.” Joe couldn’t believe his eyes.

Soon the doctor returned. He checked a few more things on Joe. Then he said with a knowing smile. “Okay, Joe, you can put your shirt back on. Please send me the next boy.”

That brief episode in Joe’s life took place years ago. But the boy never forgot the gentleness and the encouraging words of that doctor.

Gentleness means recognizing that the world around us is fragile, especially other people. It is recognizing our own capacity to do harm and choosing instead to be tender, soft-spoken, soft-hearted, and careful. When we are gentle we touch the world in ways that protect and preserve it.

Quote: “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hostility to evaporate.”  – Albert Schweitzer


About John Parankimalil

John Parankimalil, SDB, M.A. (English), M.Ed, Ph.D (Education), popularly known as P.D. Johny is a member of the Salesians of Don Bosco. He is presently the Rector and Principal of Don Bosco College, Tura, Meghalaya and Director of Don Bosco College of Teacher Education, Tura. He received the 1st Computer Literacy Excellence Award from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the President of India in August 2002 and the Guruvar Best Teacher Award from Shri Kapil Sibal, HRD Union Minister in 2009. He was formerly Principal of St Anthony's Higher Secondary School, Shillong and National President of All India Association of Catholic Schools (AINACS), New Delhi and the Charter President of Rotary Club of Orchid City, Shillong. He has authored several books. He is an Eduationist, Story-Teller and Leadership Trainer. He conducts seminars for Principals, Teachers, Students and Parents. His popular books include, He Can Who Thinks He Can (Macmillan), An Elocution Manual (Orient Longman), Progressive Parenting (Unicorn), Inspirational Stories for Purposeful Living (Babhani) The Way to Success and Happiness (Savio), How to Win Over Your Problems (Babhani), The Secrets of High Achievers (Babhani).
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