A few years ago I took my son to kindergarten just like the day before. It was early spring and not really warm yet as kids were still in rain boots and jackets. As the bell rang the children got ready for class, grabbed their lunch kits and sat down on the bench as they waited for the teacher to call them into class.
As I stood there the teacher called attention to a little girl, (let’s call her Amy) and asked her where her lunch kit was. “Amy where is your lunch kit? It’s your job to wake your mom up to pack your lunch…” When I turned to look at the young girl I couldn’t help but think it was a miracle she was here at all. Her pants were too short, her hair hadn’t been washed in days, and who knew what kind of home she left that morning to find her way to the safety of school.
Overwhelmed with emotion and frustration I kissed my son goodbye and proceeded to the store. I searched the shelves for the prettiest princess lunch kit I could find. I took great pleasure shopping for food Amy may have never had. How could I have not seen this sooner? How did we go almost an entire year of this little girl who sits beside my son longing to connect and to be loved, and to eat. I was so upset with myself that I didn’t see it sooner… How true it is that we never do.
The next morning before the kids lined up for class I found the teacher to explain what I was doing and as much a blessing for Amy, a lesson for the adults. How can you learn when you can’t eat, that some of our communities greatest needs are right here in the classroom.
I handed Amy her lunch kit, not to make her feel embarrassed, but to make her feel normal. So that she would know that she was loved. She immediately sat down on the bench and opened her gift, as she looked up at me a tear rolled down her dirty face, and she said thank you. I tried not to fall apart, I was overwhelmed by her kindness.
Sometimes in life we are so focused we forget what really matters…
As I push myself to the end of my Masters in Business I came across a quote and I was reminded…
“At the end of our lives we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made or how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat. I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in’”…… Mother Teresa
Don’t forget when you are running through life sometimes what really matters is sitting right in front of you.