The little girl didn’t have much. She lived in what you would consider the high-end “ghetto,” if that exists. Her home was built in the smack dab center of a middle class neighborhood. She came from a family of five, and they were trying to survive on the income of a butcher.
The little girl’s family left their loved ones behind and entered the challenge and chaos of another culture, in order to provide their children with a better education. The little girl loved learning, and she was always blessed with wonderful teachers … well, except maybe that one teacher in 3rd grade who made fun of her braided pigtails. But for the most part, her teachers were a fountain of encouragement.
Her family was always plagued with not having much money around Christmas time, so she would start saving for presents early on from odd jobs she would do for her middle class neighbors. One year, she did try to “borrow” something from her mother to give to a teacher. Her mother discovered this and, needless to say, it never happened again.
Her father worked day and night and was rarely available to take them anywhere, so they made good use of public transportation to get around town. The little girl, along with her mother and two other siblings, would walk a ways to get to the bus stop, then they would take 2 or 3 buses to get to the store. With every bus connection, she would get excited because that meant she was getting closer to her hard-earned gift that she would soon purchase.
You couldn’t remove the smile off her face as she skipped up and down each aisle looking for the glorious boxed chocolates section. She walked past the fancy expensive chocolates and suddenly came to a halt — there they were in large black bold letters: CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES, 99 cents.
Alas, she held them in her hands and she inspected them carefully, making sure they were the two-dollar kind, because that was exactly what she had saved up for. She smiled with glee, ignoring what she knew well — that other students were giving the teacher nicer gifts that she would never be able to afford. The next day, in the same dress she wore the day before, she proudly walked up to her teacher. With a big smile on her face, she handed her the precious gift: chocolate covered cherries!
I thought it was fitting to preface this article with this short story before I share the truth about teacher gifts: Every gift given with love is dear to each teacher’s heart.
You can read the rest of this article The Truth About Teacher Gifts over at Inspired by Familia. The story above is a true account of an event in my life. I’ve been giving chocolate covered cherries to my favorite teachers ever since.
Image via Flickr -Jan Tatomir
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