Eric Butterworth was a college professor who had his sociology class go into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. The students were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote, “He hasn’t got a chance.”
25 years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He had his students follow up on the project to see what had happened to these boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen.
The professor was astounded about the results. The earlier study was so inaccurate. What had happened to change the futures of these young boys? Fortunately, all the men were in the area and he was able to ask each one, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came back, “There was this teacher…”
That teacher was still alive, so he sought her out and asked the elderly but still alert woman what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement. The teacher’s eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a smile. “It’s really very simple,” she said. “I loved those boys.”
This teacher saw possibilities in them that no one else saw. She told them long enough until they believed it themselves.
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