Read an Excerpt
A Humble Gift
It is the last day of the school year and I stand empty-handed with no gift to give you. It isn't that I haven't tried to think of something thoughtful and kindquite the contrary. For months, I have combed catalogs, browsed specialty shops and department stores, inquired in novelty shops, and even searched the Internet only to realize that no bauble or trinket or card could express the feelings of a mother's grateful heart for a teacher's loving dedication. How I wish a colorful bundle of fresh wildflowers could reflect the beauty of your way with childrenthe constant patience and nurturing, the gentle encouragement. A keepsake basket laden with soothing soaps and bath oils would eventually serve only as a common gift were its sturdy, woven walls not filled to overflowing with examples of the individual ways you have touched the lives of your students. Jewelry would be nice, but what can I afford that would not soon tarnish or grow quickly out of style? You deserve the gems of
royalty for your perseverance and creativity, your devotion and talent. During the past year, I have given you many gifts, mostly intangible ones.
My first gift arrived at the moment the first school bell rang last August, when I placed in you my trust, believing you would teach my child and reserve respect for me as a parent. I added to that my constant and fervent prayers that you would be objective and fair, with the ability to set limitations while offering my child a chance to learn self-control and to soar a bit in the process. I sincerely petitioned that your classroom would be a safe haven for my child to grow and learn, lending itself to the crazy, yet somehow perfect mixture of self-discipline and controlled instruction. I prayed for your health and your happiness, and for your ability to be supplied with the tools necessary to complete your task as teacher, educator and mentor. I offered you my time as often as I could, and my support for your endeavors. Occasionally, I even offered you a challenge when I spoke my mind, sometimesstanding firm, sometimes backing down with a renewed assurance or a “wait and see” attitude.
I wish with all my heart that I could put a delicate ribbon on a gaily wrapped package and give you a “something” to express my appreciation and affection. But I have nothing to give you that would surpass the most precious gift I have ever had to offer and which you already so graciously accepted months agothe one you have held close to your heart, laughed with and probably cried with, applauded and scolded, lifted and encouraged, molded and shapedmy child.
And today, as my child returns to my side for the summer, the gift I humbly give to you is found deep within my heart . . .
I give you my thanks.
¬2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street,
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.