She knew she was going to have to teach him either way, but it became obvious the poor child had trouble focusing and was falling behind. On Teacher Appreciation Day her students gave her nicely wrapped gifts and lovely cards.
The ragged little boy eased his way to her desk and gave his teacher a gift wrapped in a brown paper bag tied with a shoe string. When she opened the bag there was a used rhinestone bracelet with missing stones and a bottle of perfume that was half empty.
The teacher didn’t know what to think. Not wanting the child to feel bad she put the bracelet on and touched just a hint of the perfume to her neck. She then stood up in front of her students and said, “Class, look what I just received. Look how pretty this bracelet is and sniff how nice this perfume smells!”
The little boy walked back to his seat without a smile and sat quietly. At the end of the day when his classmates were gone, the timid little boy approached the teacher and told her just above a whisper, “My mom passed away not long ago. I wanted you to have her perfume so you could smell like her. This was her favorite bracelet. I wanted you to have it. So now you look like my mom.”
The teacher was overwhelmed. She started crying and gave the child a tight hug. From that point on the teacher stayed late every afternoon until the little boy caught up with his class. He became one of her top students.
Eight years later she received a letter from the boy saying, “I graduated with honors! I had the second highest grade in my class! Thank you so much for working with me.”
Years later the teacher received another letter from the student saying, “I graduated from college magna cum laude and now I am a board certified physician practicing medicine. Thank you again for all your kind help.”
The aged teacher, now retired, received an invitation in the mail from the student inviting her to attend his wedding at his expense. A letter with the invitation asked if she would sit where his mother would have sat. He explained she would be the only family he had because his father had died a few months earlier.
Without hesitation, she went. When they met they both started crying. They embraced for only the second time, holding each other tightly. It was obvious to everyone that theirs was a bond to last a lifetime. It became the stuff of legend.
Question: When we see someone off-putting and disadvantaged, do we judge them on the basis of appearance and miss a wonderful opportunity to make a friend and make our own life more meaningful? Are we willing to go the extra mile for someone in need? Can we inspire someone who is discouraged? What lessons did you learn?
No one can fully understand the bond that turns two people into one or why helping someone can turn into a lifelong relationship. Helping to change a life for good is more rewarding than most people can foresee or imagine. Ask any dedicated teacher and the students who need them.
Good teachers can change lives. So can good neighbors, good friends and good parents. It starts with kindness, empathy and understanding. It ends with a helping hand, words of encouragement and genuine love. In the process something wonderful happens — we change for the better.
As humans we are not unlike poor little children. We lost our original parents to sin and death. We can only approach God with humility and tainted gift offerings due to our imperfection.
Thankfully, God is more willing and able to help us than anyone we’ll ever meet. Psalm 34:17-19 reads, “The righteous call to the Lord, and he listens; he rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. Good people suffer many troubles, but the Lord saves them from them all.” — Good News Translation.
God is far more compassionate than any teacher who takes the time to instruct a child. His results are far better. As Isaiah 54:13 says, “And all thy sons are taught of Jehovah, and abundant is the peace of thy sons.” — Young’s Literal Translation.
Not only is God willing to teach those spiritually underprivileged in His ways of peace, but He says at Isaiah 41:10, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not gaze about, for I am your God. I will fortify you. I will really help you. I will really keep fast hold of you with my right hand of righteousness.” — New World Translation.
Like a good teacher who invests in the education of a struggling student, our Grand Instructor is extending His unsurpassed love to all people and is offering everlasting life through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
When was the last time you thanked God for His loving kindness and guidance? Can you think of a better time than right now?
*For a copy of The Little White Book of Light featuring more than 100 Wright Way columns, visit barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and amazon.com.