THE TRUE MIRACLE worker today is the one who can make people care. I found this observation in a publication called “Good Reading” about 35 years ago and the unidentified writer continued the thought with the following evidence.

“No matter what field — business, industry, education, government, sociology, the arts, religion — the ability to make people care is genius. We should all strive to learn this skill. If you succeed, your management services will be sought by many employers.

“In industry it’s to make workers care about quality of products, and executives care about their responsibility to their workers, customers and the environment.

“In education it’s to make students care about the knowledge that is available to them and to motivate teachers to care about their students.

“In government it’s to make legislators, administrators and judges care about what the taxpayers get for their money.

“In sociology it’s to make those who have, care about those who have not.

“In the arts it’s to make people care about what is significant and beautiful in life.

“In religion it’s to make the congregations care more about true, God-inspired selfless love than about how imposing their church buildings are.

“Today’s man of genius is the one who can make people care. I’d guess they come in all shapes, sizes and cultural backgrounds. The people who recognize this talent and can nurture it are truly blessed.”

*  *  *

ABOUT 40 YEARS ago, Helen Marshall wrote the following message titled “Whatever Your Gift.”

“What is that you hold in your hand? Nothing, you say. Look again.

“Every hand holds some special gift: a hammer, broom, pen, needle, carpenter’s tool, scalpel, artist’s brush, microscope, violin’s bow, a way with words in the giving of faith and hope.

“What is that you hold in your hand? Whatever your gift may be, it can open your door to abundant life; you hold in your hand the key. Use it wisely.”

*  *  *

AS A new school year starts, tens of thousands of teachers begin with motivation and great expectations. Here’s one story.

The first day of school, a teacher was glancing over the roll when she noticed a number after each student’s name such as 113, 130 or 138.

“Wow! Look at those IQs,” she said to herself. “What a terrific class I’ve been entrusted with this school year.” The teacher promptly determined to work harder with this class than with any other she ever had.

Throughout the year, she came up with innovative lessons and assignments that she thought would challenge the students because she didn’t want them to get bored with work that was too easy.

Her plan worked. The class outperformed all the other classes she taught in the usual way. Her students were recognized for their achievements and she was awarded accommodations by the school board.

Then, during the last quarter of the year, she discovered what those numbers after the students’ name really were: their locker numbers.