This short story is by an unknown author, originally titled “A Story for School Girls,” taken from “The King’s Daughter and Other Stories,” published in 1910.
Even though it is about school girls, it holds a valuable lesson for any girl. I pray that as you read it, it will encourage you in your walk with the Lord.
“I tell you what it is,” said Marcia Lewis,” Miss Capron has no business to be so awful cross. Only think what a sight of marks we got. Let’s act just as bad when we go into school again, and she will have to dismiss us, and then we’ll all go down to the falls and have a nice time.”
“Wouldn’t it be grand,” said Nellie Jones.
“Splendid!” replied Mattie Lee.
“Why! What is the matter?” asked Mary Paine, who had been absent from school during the day until then and was surprised to find her usually pleasant companions so excited. When she had heard the whole story, she looked very sad. “Poor Miss Capron! How could you treat her so?”
“It is just what she deserves for being so cross,” said Lottie Barnes.
“Oh, you have been looking at the wrong side, girls. I have heard a story of a lady who began to find faults in her son’s wife. The more she looked for them, the more she found, until she began to think her daughter-in-law the most disagreeable person in the world. She used to talk of her failings to a very dear friend.
“Finally, her friend said to her one day, ‘No doubt Jane has her faults, and very disagreeable ones, but suppose for awhile you try to see what good qualities you can discover in her character. Really, I am very curious to know.’
“The good lady was a little offended at her friend’s plain suggestion; but finally concluded to try it; and long before she had discovered half her good traits, she began to regard Jane as a perfect treasure. Now you have been doing just as this lady did, in looking for faults. Let us be like her the rest of the afternoon in looking for pleasant things. Let us see how many smiles we can get from Miss Capron.”
Mary Paine was one of the oldest girls in the school. She gave the girls subjects for their compositions and helped them out of al their troubles. So being a favorite they consented, half reluctantly, to do as she said.
Miss Capron dreaded to ring the bell. The fifteen minutes passed, and she felt compelled to call her scholars. They entered in perfect order.
Each took her seat quietly and began studying in real earnest. Frequently, however, a pleasant smile would seek an answering one from the teacher, and then one would be added to the rapidly increasing row of smile-marks. The good order and close application to study, and the winning looks, soon caused a continual smile to lighten Miss Capron’s face, till the girls finally rubbed out the marks, saying it was of no use to try to keep account.
Marcia Lewis wrote on her slate, “It’s smile all the time.”
Before Miss Capron dismissed the school at night, she said, “My head ached sadly before recess, and I fear I was impatient with you. Your good conduct since has convinced me that I must have been in fault. I thank you, my dear girls, for your love and kindness, and hope you will forgive my faults as freely as I do yours. School is dismissed.”
Instantly she was surrounded by all the girls and showered with kisses.
“We have been very wicked,” said Marcia Lewis, “and it is not your fault at all.”
Little Libbie Denny then related the whole story of the conspiracy, and when she told the part that Mary Paine had taken, Miss Capron put her arm about Mary, and kissing her, said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
“Well, my dears,” she added, “which was best, looking for frowns or for smiles?”
“Oh, the smiles!” they all said together.
“I wish you might learn a lesson from this, to remember all through your lives. Overlook the bad and seek for what is good in everybody; and so you will help to make both yourselves and others happier and better. What is the lesson, girls?”
And each voice responded, “We will overlook the bad, and seek only for what is good in those around us.”
I love the quote, “Suppose for awhile you try to see what good qualities you can discover in her character.” Many times, it is easiest to look a person and notice their faults – the little things that bother and annoy us. We all have at least one person that we can find many negative things in their character. I want to challenge us to take Mary’s suggestion: “Suppose for awhile you try to see what good qualities you can discover in her character.” Sometimes it is hard to get out of our habit of fault-finding, so I suggest you pray as you begin to look for the good in others.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3)