Advent devotion: School talk

News | December 14, 2017

I have been a teacher in the Bettendorf school district for 24 years now, with 22 of them at the middle school. One day last week, as I walked the locker room to make sure everyone was safe and ready to go to the next period, one little boy volunteered that he hoped he would get something this Christmas.

Taken aback, I stopped and asked him why he thought he might not receive any gifts.

He went on to tell me that he just had his birthday and did not receive any presents. His mom recently lost her job, but he was hoping she would find a job before Christmas.

I stumbled for the right words to say. I kind of said something about trying to do something nice for his mother while she is going through a rough patch. I gave him some ideas – help with dishes, clean up the house, do things without being told. I also said that Christmas is about being together as a family.

The bell rang and he was on his way. I made a note to myself to check in with the guidance counselor to share our conversation.

I reflected later in the night about the talk we had. I was raised in a family who never had to worry about stuff like unemployed parents, steady meals, presents on birthdays and Christmas. I am grateful that our school has many programs to support families, and our staff is very gracious in their giving. I am hopeful this boy and his family will find some joy this holiday season and in the future.

Scott Lammers lives in Bettendorf with his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Sarah and Ashley. He has taught and coached in the Bettendorf school district for 24 years.

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