Life’s Lessons


Making people feel better

Heidelberg’s Bulletin arrived the other day. I was a freshman music student at Heidelberg in 1949. (Yes, I know that’s ancient history.) But, if I had stayed with the program, I would have graduated and, presumably, would have been teaching music in 1953.

Well, that’s ancient history, too, because I changed colleges a couple of times and, having seen the light that I was not meant to be a music teacher, had also changed majors. I completed my elementary education degree in evening and summer classes and did join the ranks of teachers in 1953 with an emergency certificate.

Probably as a result of those changes, I never developed the deep, lasting college friendships others talk about. So, usually when the Bulletin arrives, I immediately deposit it in the recycle bin. This time, I leafed through it knowing former classmates would probably be in the obituaries. (It didn’t even list obituaries.)

I found some interesting stories about Heidelberg grads and what they have done or are still doing. One story was about a couple who met at Heidelberg and graduated two years before I would have if I had stayed the course. Maybe I’m younger than I thought.

I leafed through the periodical. The picture that caught my attention featured a young lady with a golden retriever. I’ll be honest – it was the golden retriever that stood out to me.

I simply had to read this story. It told of the elementary school counselor’s therapy dogs. Her first dog, Magic, died quite unexpectedly in 2012. She initially thought she could never get another dog. But after a long time (actually about six hours) she put in her application for a successor dog.

The next sentence made me pay attention: “Seven months later, Reinhart was paired with Kennedy.”

Hey! I knew a golden retriever named Kennedy when I fostered dogs in training. Following it through, it fit – this is the Kennedy I knew – so I read the story with greater interest.

The counselor’s comment about her dog hit home: “Kennedy just wants to make people feel better, and when he does, it’s golden.” What a fitting remark about a smart, loving golden retriever.

This may sound strange, but that comment reminds me of my adopted grandson. Every time I ask him what he wants to do with his life, his answer is, “I don’t really know. I just want to help people.”

We adults could take a lesson from these two. What better goal than to help people and make them feel better?

In fact, as representatives of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we are admonished to “help people” – that being the end result of, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:29)

Making people feel better