I teach at an elementary school in my town that has an affluent reputation. Many of the children come from homes where money is not an issue and celebrations can be an event. But we also have a few children where that is quite the opposite. Enter "Charles". Charles is a big ol' hulk of a boy. He is a super kid, but has also had some hard knocks. This year he has blossomed. Where he had a constant frown and a chip on his shoulder that could turn others away, he now shows a smile that warms your heart and gets along with everyone. This boy is now one of our fourth grade "peer mediators". He went from not doing any work at the beginning of the year to making the A/B Honor Roll for the very first time this past nine weeks. He is my Michael Oher from and I love him dearly.
About a month ago, Charles gave out invitations to his birthday party held at a local park. The party was this past Saturday: a day of rain, a few thunderstorms, AND Steeplechase (quite the event in my town). When he came to school on Monday, he told me that only one classmate came. He was disappointed, but seemed ok.
A few minutes later, I was beckoned to my classroom door by the mother of the child who attended. In her hand was the biggest gift bag full of presents for Charles with a note attached that read:
"For Charles. We are sorry we couldn't come to your party due to the rain. Here are our gifts to you for your birthday. Your Friends".
The bag was filled with a wrapped gifts, including a football, basketball, the series, and two other toys. The mother said she just had to do something as she knew that for Charles to even give out invitations for a party was a big step for him. She didn't want him to think that his classmates didn't care about him.
I hid the bag in another teacher's room and sent Charles on an "errand" to the office. Bringing the bag back to class, I told his classmates what the sweet mother had done. They were so touched by her thoughtfulness, so excited for Charles, and yet sad that they had either forgotten about his party or had other plans.
When Charles came back to class, he was so surprised. That beautiful smile covered his face. He threw up his hands. "I can't believe this guys! Thank you so much!" As he opened each gift, Charles was so gracious. He commented on and held up each gift for the class to see. The entire class was filled with joy and happiness for their classmate. And that cute thing even gave a little speech at the end to tell them now much this meant to him!
It was a Golden Day in my classroom. But it the story gets even better...