"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (John 13:34)

I was looking through some of the shoe boxes of my mind today. Those are the places where I store all of the wonderful moments of learning and loving that I have had in this life. One such memory is of a simple picture drawn for me by a 5th grade student when I was a very young substitute teacher. I lost the real picture in one of the several moves I have made over the years, but the picture is still there in one of the shoe boxes of my cluttered, middle-aged mind.

It was drawn in crayons and colored pencils. There were lovely, red, Fall trees, green grass, and flowers under a golden sun. Under it were written the words: "You are the best teacher I've ever had." Now the strange thing was that I had only been her teacher for one day and I would never teach in her classroom again. That was the life of a substitute teacher. You hardly ever got the same class twice. Still, I was young and idealistic. I believed in what the great educator Leo Buscaglia had said about using positive, caring, and encouraging words with your students. That day I had taken the opportunity to tell that young artist how great her English paper had been and that she should "Keep up the wonderful work!" As school ended that day she handed me the picture, smiled, and ran out to her bus. I kept that picture in a special folder on my dresser and in a special shoe box in my mind. I was amazed at how my one kind comment had meant so much to her, and I thanked God for giving me the wisdom to say it.

Now that I am old and idealistic I see that every caring word we say, every act of kindness we do, and every bit of love we share makes a difference in this world. God loves us all and God created us all for a purpose. We are to love each other and make this world a better place in our own special way. May you do so today. May you fill all of your days with love and kindness.

May you fill all the shoe boxes of your mind with memories of joy.

By: Joseph J. Mazzella