VOL. 37. NO. 8 WEEKLY.DAVID C. COOK PUBLISHING CO., ELGIN, ILLINOIS.GEORGE E. COOK. EDITOR.FEBRUARY 22, 1914.
"We're all such little girls, Miss Lee. We can't do things for people. They have to do things for us, all the time, don't you see? How can we do much helping?"
Little Grace Mayne looked into her teacher's face with earnest eyes as she said this. The girls in the class nodded their heads and some of them added, "I don't see how," and "Of course we can't do anything," while they waited for Miss Lee to answer Gracie. The teacher had been talking to them about doing things for others, and had tried to show them how much help was needed in this world, and how much there was for all to do. Sunday-school teachers feel this so much, that no wonder they talk to their classes about it.
"Well," said Miss Lee, as if she were thinking very deeply, indeed, "perhaps there is really nothing that you can do to help others. Doing, seems to be a hard word with you little maids. Suppose we drop that word and take another. A very great man once said that when we could do nothing, we could still be something, for the sake of other people. I would like to have you all see what you can be. That comes first, anyhow. You have to be alive before you can talk, and walk, and think, and act. You have to be willing before you can do anything, you know, and so we will see what we can do with ourselves, before we try to do much for others. Shall we?"
"Yes, but I don't understand just what you mean," said Lucie Ray.
"Then listen," said Miss Lee. "When anyone does anything for you, suppose you try to be truly thankful. When anyone teases you, see if you can be patient. If others are cross, see how kind you can be. When others are sour, you must be sweet. I really think you will have enough to do."
"We'll try," said Grace.
"That is right. Try, and keep on trying. There's one thing more: If you are thankful, say so. If you are sorry for anyone, say so, and if you feel kindly, speak kindly. These things ought to come out. But as you try to be patient and sweet, don't go about telling it. Let other people find it out. They will, easily enough."
"How will they?" asked one.
"The other day," said Miss Lee, "someone gave me a rose. It was an American Beauty. I put it in a vase in the parlor. There it stood, tall and straight, with its green leaves like lovely garments around it, and the crimson flower, like a beautiful crown above. Yes, there it stood, and never said a word. It never said, 'I am sweet.' or 'How fragrant my breath is!' not once. But everyone who came into the room, even when it happened to be dark, knew that the rose was there. Why?"
"It was so sweet. They smelled it," cried the class in chorus.
"Yes, that was it. By being sweet—not by saying, 'I am sweet'—it made itself known in the room. Now, see how sweet and loving and thankful and patient and thoughtful you can be this week. Think about being, instead of doing."
The next Sunday they talked over the week.
"I tried to be thankful and to say 'thank you,' when I ought," said Margie, "'cause mamma says so much to me about that....