I come from a family of teachers. I must go further to say that each one of these teachers is of the sort that reaches beyond the job description, and leaves a glowing imprint on students who enter their classrooms.
After my Father’s sudden and untimely passing, there were over 100o people at his funeral, all with stories of the profound effect he had on them, both inside and out of his Art classroom. My mother, a speech teacher, still receives letters from students she taught 40 years ago, expressing gratitude for her ability to think outside the box and bring forth positive results, impacting the course of their lives.
My 2 oldest sisters are both following in my parent’s footsteps, with their unceasing joy and creativity in their teaching styles, and the outpouring of positive energy that permeates their classrooms and schools. I am humbled by the light they shine on this world, and am proud to call myself their daughter/sister.
I had to share that as a preamble to this piece, written by my sister, Hilary. I received this in an email, and the subject line said simply:
“Why would anyone want to do anything else for a living?”
Here is her story.
NICK’S SEASONS OF LOVE
It’s the time of year when many of us are searching for something wonderful, something special, something validating. But, how much does it cost to share a Season of Love with the ones we care about? When seeking answers to questions of such utter importance, I urge you, go to the experts! And, by experts, of course I am referring to the five to eight year olds in our lives!
As the students arrived at their classrooms this past Wednesday morning, I received a phone call from a kindergarten teacher in my building. She asked if I had a student by the name of… let’s call him “Nick.” I responded affirmatively, and the teacher proceeded to tell me that Nick reportedly gave one of her students a dollar. Sadly, I immediately jumped to, “Did he MAKE him give it to him?” Apparently, that was the question that needed answering.
I quietly took Nick into the hallway and asked him, “Did you give a little boy a dollar?” To which Nick quickly answered, “Yes.” I asked him if the other child had asked him for the money, or had made him give it to him. Nick looked me square in the eyes and stated. “No. I wanted to give it to him.” We went around for a minute or so to make sure no intimidating, begging, or bullying had transpired causing this . . . “gift action” to take place. Nick finally looked at me with brilliant brown eyes and a matter of fact stance, and stated, “I wanted to give him the money. I wasn’t using it, so I needed to give it up. And, it wasn’t one dollar, it was three.” He then turned and reentered the classroom. I called the teacher back and told her about the other 2 dollars. Apparently, Nick had given a dollar to each of three children he thought could use it more than him.
Then, it dawned on me. The previous day I was able to share a longtime favorite book with my school’s Morning Program. Jeff Brumbeau’s The Quiltmaker’s Gift, is a lengthy and meaty 12 minute read aloud that I hoped would hold the attention of 365 Early Kindergarten through Second grade students. 12 minutes may not seem like a long time, but when your audience is comprised of 5-8 year olds who are sitting “criss cross applesauce” on a hard cafeteria floor, it could be disastrous. Did I mention this 12 minutes is set in the middle of a 40 minute weekly assembly? Thank goodness for quality literature and 365 pure hearts who openly invite storybook characters into their souls!
The children listened intently to this glorious journey of the heart, as a greedy king demanded a quilt be made for him by an extraordinary quiltmaker. The gifted quiltmaker refused because her quilts were only for the poor and downhearted, and it was obvious he hadn’t a care in the world. After much controversy and illustrated action, the king begrudgingly discovered that his thousands of precious belongings weren’t worth anything if they couldn’t make him happy, so he gave away everything he possessed.
Finally, when the king was poor, tattered and torn, he received a beautiful, hand made gift, from the quiltmaker, to which he responded, “I may look poor, but in truth my heart is full to bursting, filled with memories of all the happiness I’ve given and received. I’m the richest man I know.”
Could it really have been so simple for six year old Nick? I called his mother to let her know of his three precious dollars. She didn’t know Nick had given away the money he had earned for helping her clean, but she had heard him telling his brother they had too many things and they needed to get rid of some. She also heard him conclude with, “I’m rich at heart!”
This is not a Christmas story. Our Nick does not celebrate Christmas. He celebrates Giving and Caring every single day of the day year. So, the next time someone wonders how much it costs to share a Season of Love, you’ll know the answer. It only costs $3.00. Thank you, Nick!
By Hilary TerBoss
I can only pray to have my children in a classroom such as this. Thank you to the special teachers in my life, and to all those across our country. It is your profession that should make the money of the 1 percent.