Deeds, not stones, are the monuments of the great. — John Motley
In RJ Palacio’s book “Wonder”, August ‘Auggie’ Pullman is a 5th grader trying to fit in to his new school.
There’s just one problem.
A chromosome problem.
Auggie was born missing one.
This condition caused his appearance to be unlike anyone else’s in the school.
Palacio describes Auggie as “an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face”.
“Wonder” tells the story of how this 11 year old deals with being singled out, excluded, ridiculed, ignored and noticed everywhere he goes.
All because he doesn’t look like everyone else.
Could you imagine?
The book is INSPIRING and funny.
And at times uncomfortable.
But like all good books, it teaches a LESSON.
Acts of KINDNESS stand larger than stone monuments to the people we help.
One of the fun characters in the book is Auggie’s English teacher, Mr Browne.
Each month Mr Browne inspires his students with a PRECEPT.
Here’s October’s Precept:
“YOUR DEEDS ARE YOUR MONUMENTS”
This quote, which Mr Browne told the class, “was carved on the tomb of an Egyptian Pharaoh”, describes a timeless truth:
Actions speak louder than stone.
What we DO becomes our legacy.
Our DEEDS have a BIGGER impact than anything we SAY or THINK.
Life is about taking action.
And our ACTIONS give us our best chance to impact the lives of others.
This idea reminds us of that great line from Maximus in the opening scene of the movie Gladiator, “What we do in life echos in eternity.”
Every KIND ACT we do is another stone cast into our legacy.
Mr Browne challenged his students to write down what October’s PRECEPT meant to them.
Here’s what Auggie wrote:
“We should be remembered for the things we do. The things we do are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do are like MONUMENTS. They’re like the pyramids the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Instead of of being made by stone, they’re made of memories. YOUR DEEDS ARE YOUR MONUMENTS.”