You don't always have to look hard to find life's important lessons or most inspiring teachers; sometimes they're standing right in front of you.
That's what Claudia Pfeiffer, an Indiana grandmother of five, proved when she wrote of how her grandson's long-ago reaction to bullies gave her strength and serenity when she needed it most. Her grandson, Jesse, who is developmentally disabled and lives in a group home, has just turned 30, though he was never expected to live past infancy.
When Jesse was a child, his grandmother took him to a park, where children pointed and laughed at him, moving away so that they wouldn't have to play with him. While Grandma was hurt and angry, Jesse never stopped smiling or seemed upset--and when she later asked him why, the answer was powerful.
"You told me you didn’t get mad or upset because you knew they simply didn’t understand. You knew you made kids and grown-ups uncomfortable because you were different and they didn’t know how to react. 'It’s okay, Grandma. I understand.' You patted my arm, comforting me! You were so benevolent. So forgiving. You still are," Pfeiffer wrote in an open letter.
Trying to understand and forgive people who are trying to hurt you is one of the most mature, levelheaded, and emotionally difficult things to do in life, and the fact that this little boy had the innate strength to do it makes him SUCH a hero in our eyes.
As his grandmother put it, "Thank you for not being angry with people who hurt you. You have shown me lessons in patience, in sharing, in accepting, in loving, in goodness."
Valuable life lessons, indeed.