Last week I had a great experience in one of my classes that I hope will touch you as much as it did me. One of my classes is composed of seven girls; four of whom are quite the little all-girl Brat Pack, two of whom pretty much keep to themselves, and one very quiet girl named Susan. Susan is one of those students who has a very basic understanding of English which, combined with her shy nature, causes her to really struggle with vocalizing what she knows. Oftentimes it’s a struggle to get her to speak, and when she does it’s barely a whisper. In spite of this, she’s one of my favorite students because she is the epitome of a respectful kid.
Anyway, this was a class like any other. We were making painstaking progress through the lesson when I noticed Susan wasn’t really paying attention. In fact, she was knitting. I paused and said, “Susan, can you please put the knitting away? Thank you.” and kept teaching. Minutes later, as the rest of the class did an activity, I noticed she had the knitting needles out again. I walked over and asked her what she was knitting. She mumbled something inaudible and leaned over her project, so I squatted down and asked her again.
“Hat,” she replied.
“Who is the hat for?”
Oh, well that sounded nice. I assumed she was making it for a sibling or a relative of some sort.
I couldn’t help it. I just stared at her for a few seconds, unable to say anything. I felt so… proud. Proud that I get to teach a student like her. Then I said the only thing that came to mind. “Susan, you are a very good person.”
Seriously. While all the other students were horsing around with their friends, being noisy, or whining that they were too tired/sick/hungry to finish the lesson; this girl was knitting hats for children in Africa. Maybe I’m just becoming a total softy, but I thought it was one of the most simple yet poignant acts of charity I’ve seen.
What do you think? I know it made me look at myself, as well as the culture that I’m from. I thought about the Occupy Wall Street protesters with their gripes about the troubles our crippled economy is causing them. I thought of the embarrassing antics of Black Friday shoppers… the greed, selfishness and hypocrisy so clearly on display. And despite the troubles many people in the United States face I feel that, in most cases, we’ve got it pretty darn good.
So, as a belated Thanksgiving post, what have you got to be thankful for? Do you have family that loves you? Do you have good friends? Do you have a roof over your head, food and clean water, or a job? Do you have a hat or coat to keep warm?
And what have you done for others recently?
I’m going to link to a few charities that I really believe in just in case you feel particularly generous.
Compassion – You can directly sponsor children through this Christian-based organization in all corners of the world. They focus on education, health, safety, and ministry. And you get to write letters to and receive them from your sponsored child.
UNICEF – A huge global charity that focuses on children in poverty and terrible conditions around the world. They focus on safety, health, education, and combating HIV.
Invisible Children – A charity that focuses specifically on central Africa and ending the use of child soldiers in the conflicts that have plagued the region for the past several decades.
Anyway. Happy belated Thanksgiving. To my family and friends, I’m thankful for each and every one of you <3