Surprising Story Lessons on Making a Difference

 Never let your fears be the boundaries of your dreams. I often bump into a memorable story that I have never heard before. How about you? What’s your dream? Do you dream of making a difference in the world around you?  Sometimes we make a difference without really trying, don’t we? Here is a very interesting story about how we should think of story lessons on making a difference and success … will it change your life?


This story started making the rounds on the internet in 2001. From my research, it seems that is probably not a true story. But it is a very good story with a moral worth thinking about. An entertaining story that teaches us a great lesson doesn’t necessarily have to be true does it? Not in my mind.


For a different perspective, see our article on: A Story About Living as Told by a Six Year Old Boy


Anyway, this is a story from a lady by the name of Mildred Honor. She tells the story. So let’s get started.


At the prodding of my friends I am writing this story. My name is Mildred Honor. I am a former elementary school Music Teacher from Des Moines, Iowa.


piano lessons
Ever take piano lessons?

I have always supplemented my income by teaching piano lessons … something I have done for over 30 years. During those years, I found that children have many levels of musical ability, and even though I have never had the prodigy, I have taught some very talented students.


However, I have also had my share of what I call ‘Musically Challenged Pupils.


One such Pupil being Robby. Robby was 11 years old when his Mother (a Single Mom) dropped him off for his first Piano Lesson.


I prefer that Students (especially Boys) begin at an earlier age, which I explained to Robby. But Robby said that it had always been his Mother’s Dream to hear him play the Piano, so I took him as a Student.


At the end of each weekly lesson he would always say ‘My Mom’s going to hear me play someday.’ But to me, it seemed hopeless, he just did not have any inborn ability. I only knew his Mother from a distance as she dropped Robby off or waited in her aged Car to pick him up. She always waved and smiled, but never dropped in.



one day Robby stopped coming for his lessons. I thought about calling him, but assumed that because of his lack of ability he had decided to pursue something else.
I was also glad that he had stopped coming. He was a bad advertisement for my teaching!


Several weeks later I mailed a flyer recital to the students’ homes. To my surprise, Robby (who had received a flyer) asked if he could be in the recital. I told him that the recital was for current pupils and that because he had dropped out, he really did not qualify.


Its gets better:

He told me that his Mother had been sick and unable to take him to his piano lessons, but that he had been practicing.


‘Please Miss Honor, I’ve just got to play,’ he insisted.
I don’t know what led me to allow him to play in the recital – perhaps it was his insistence or maybe something inside of me saying that it would be all right.


The night of the recital …

came and the high school gymnasium was packed with parents, relatives and friends. I put Robby last in the program, just before I was to come up and thank all the students and play a finishing piece.


curtain closer
Did she need the curtain closer?

I thought that any damage he might do would come at the end of the program and I could always salvage his poor performance through my ‘Curtain Closer’.


Well, the recital went off without a hitch, the students had been practicing and it showed. Then Robby came up on the stage. His clothes were wrinkled and his hair looked as though he had run an egg beater through it.


‘Why wasn’t he dressed up like the other Students?’ I thought. ‘Why didn’t his Mother at least make him comb his hair for this special night?’


It does keep getting better:

Robby pulled out the piano bench, and I was surprised when he announced that he had chosen to play Mozart’s Concerto No.21 in C Major. I was not prepared for what I heard next.


His fingers were light on the keys, they even danced nimbly on the Ivories. He went from pianissimo to fortissimo, from allegro to virtuoso; his suspended chords that Mozart demands were magnificent! Never had I heard Mozart played so well by anyone his age.


After six and a half minutes, he ended in a grand crescendo, and everyone was on their feet in wild applause!!! Overcome and in tears, I ran up on stage and put my arms around Robby in joy.


‘I have never heard you play like that Robby, how did you do it?’


Here’s the kicker:

Through the microphone Robby explained:


‘Well, Miss Honor, remember I told you that my Mom was sick? Well, she actually had cancer and passed away this morning. And well… she was born deaf, so tonight was the first time she had ever heard me play, and I wanted to make it special.’


There wasn’t a dry eye in the house that evening. As people from Social Services led Robby from the stage to be placed in to Foster Care, I noticed that even their eyes were red and puffy. I thought to myself then how much richer my life had been for taking Robby as my pupil.


Story lessons … think about the lessons

No, I have never had a prodigy, but that night I became a prodigy… of Robby. He was the teacher and I was the pupil, for he had taught me the meaning of perseverance and love and believing in yourself, and may be even taking a chance on someone and you didn’t know why.


Robby was killed years later in the senseless bombing of the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April, 1995.


We can all make a difference

Live Simply.
Love Generously.
Care Deeply.
Speak Kindly.


And show gratitude always.

Another great story: The Story of Tank the Dog or Is It Reggie?


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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


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More inspirational stories from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

A Story About Living as Told by a Six Year Old Boy

Great Stories and Storytelling Can Have a Very Healing Influence

Never Give Up Your Dreams



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Surprising Story Lessons on Making a Difference