My friend, Karen, is a born teacher; she has a calling, if you will. One of the characteristics that make her a natural teacher is her ability to accept each child as is and to provide even the most challenging children with unconditional love.
Her first teaching job was in a classroom of kids with special needs at a school in a low-income area. For children with special needs born into poverty, unconditional love is rare. They crave it and gravitate to it like sunflowers to the sun. The kids adored her.
Christmas rolled around that year. Some families could afford the gift cards, coffee mugs or Christmas decorations that teachers receive each year, but many of the families of the children in Karen’s class could not. If there was no money for lunches, there was certainly no money for gifts.
On the last day of school, a boy ran into the classroom. “Look!” he said. “I have a present for you!” He handed her a Christmas present that was more tape than wrapping paper. Karen was surprised; she hadn’t expected a gift from him. But she pried away at the tape and peeled it off piece by piece.
When she unfolded the wadded paper, there was nothing inside.
She says it is the best Christmas gift she has ever received.
Our most expensive and finely tuned measuring instruments could never have found anything inside that wadded Christmas paper, but there was something there. That carefully taped package contained all his adoration for her as a compassionate teacher. He had wrapped up his gratitude for the unconditional love and acceptance he received. He had presented her with the spirit of giving.
Could there ever be a better gift?