Notes from Jan

Something for Nothing

May 17, 2019

Just outside the bathroom in a small alcove hangs the family bulletin board, displaying art, photos, schedules and various postings. My eyes were drawn to an assignment sheet from Basil’s third grade class.

“GENEROSITY: Make a list of some things you can give or do that don’t cost money…like smiles!”

As a grandmother, I wondered what he’d list. Basil filled in all eight blanks. A few struck me as reminders of what he’d learned at home,

“Help someone with a chore.”

“I could say,”Keep up the good work.”

“Help someone if they’re hurt.”

“Let someone play with you.”

The teacher went on to give the class a GENEROSITY CHALLENGE: As a class, create a list on a large piece of paper of all the kind and generous acts you see this week. See if together you can write 50 things.

Not a bad assignment for any age.

We hear a lot about what’s wrong with our educational system. There are inequities, unfair practices as seen in the recent scandal involving wealthy parents buying entry for their children into prestigious colleges and universities.

But teachers like Basil’s remind there’s much good going on in education. From pre-school to college, we have teachers, professors and staff doing way more than their pay grade. Some will retire at year’s end. Others will find themselves unemployed for a variety of reasons. Many will wrap up their school year, tired, discouraged, wondering if the sacrifices were worth it. Like parenting, you do the best you can and then some, then hope and pray it was enough.

Maybe it’s time more of us took up the challenge Basil’s teacher gave to “look for things to do or say that don’t cost money” and take note of “kind and generous acts you see.”

It’s not just people in the military who need to hear, “Thank you for your service.”

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  • Reply Sue Andringa May 17, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    This is wonderful, Jan! You must be visiting Basil and family. Enjoy it all … and tell him I’m going to be looking for generous acts too. Being grateful can change my attitude and even my circumstances. Thank you for a game-changer!

  • Reply Marty Lefecer May 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    A great reminder as we witness the fruits of education of three amazing grandkids’ graduations this month! Hopefully we can thank a teacher or two for their service!

  • Reply wendy lane May 17, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    What a wonderful teacher! Both Basil’s and you! <3

  • Reply Ruth Wacome May 20, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Lovely reminder and challenge, Jan. And thank you for YOUR service to those who read your words!

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