Noriko, a grade school teacher in Osaka, had been teaching there for three years, but family circumstances required that she return to Shikoku.
She had become very much attached to her students, who asked her to leave some words of encouragement and inspiration in their Sign Books.
On Noriko's last day in class, each student came up to her desk one at a time. She wrote the same words in the
Sign Books of each student: "Become an indispensable person."
Five years passed and Noriko began to think of Osaka as a very distant place. She would wonder how her students were doing as they had passed on to middle school and were now preparing for high school. She could no longer help them. But she had forgotten her words in the Sign Book.
She received a letter from Osaka which took her directly back to the classroom five years before. It came, not from a student, but from one of her fellow teachers in Osaka.
The letter read, "I have tried to become a good teacher in the five years, since you left. I had taken you as my model and was carrying on your spirit in the school."
The letter ended with the words, "What especially impressed me recently were the words you wrote in the Sign Books of the students. 'Become an indispensable person.'"
Noriko's heart was overflowing with joy. She had intended those words only for her students. They had also inspired a teacher. Noriko is now the devoted secretary of a doctor in Shikoku, but her spirit lives on in Osaka.