Nouns and Adverbs

Nouns and Adverbs

From A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Nouns and Adverbs

Hope is the parent of faith!

Cyrus Augustus Bartol

Several years ago, a public school teacher was hired and assigned to visit children who were patients in a large city hospital. Her job was to tutor them with their schoolwork so they wouldn’t be too far behind when well enough to return to school.

One day, this teacher received a routine call requesting that she visit a particular child. She took the boy’s name, hospital and room number and was told by the teacher on the other end of the line, “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him with his homework so he doesn’t fall behind the others.”

It wasn’t until the visiting teacher got outside the boy’s room that she realized it was located in the hospital’s burn unit. No one had prepared her for what she was about to discover on the other side of the door. Before she was allowed to enter, she had to put on a sterile hospital gown and cap because of the possibility of infection. She was told not to touch the boy or his bed. She could stand near but must speak through the mask she had to wear.

When she had finally completed all the preliminary washings and was dressed in the prescribed coverings, she took a deep breath and walked into the room. The young boy, horribly burned, was obviously in great pain. The teacher felt awkward and didn’t know what to say, but she had gone too far to turn around and walk out. Finally she was able to stammer out, “I’m the special visiting hospital teacher, and your teacher sent me to help you with your nouns and adverbs.” Afterward, she thought it was not one of her more successful tutoring sessions.

The next morning when she returned, one of the nurses on the burn unit asked her, “What did you do to that boy?”

Before she could finish a profusion of apologies, the nurse interrupted her by saying, “You don’t understand. We’ve been worried about him, but ever since you were here yesterday his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. .. it’s as though he’s decided to live.”

The boy himself later explained that he had completely given up hope and felt he was going to die, until he saw that special teacher. Everything had changed with an insight gained by a simple realization. With happy tears in his eyes, the little boy who had been burned so badly that he had given up hope, expressed it like this: “They wouldn’t send a special teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, now, would they?”

Excerpted from Moments for Mothers

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

CALVIN AND HOBBES© Watterson. Re printed with permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All rights reserved .

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