Feb 03

I have a dilemma.  You see my school has been doing a fundraiser for sometime.  They sell these smelly pencils for a dollar.  The kids go ape for them.  No big deal right?

Here’s my problem.  I’m all for fundraising and a dollar isn’t a lot of money… but some kids just don’t have it.  I understand, this is life… especially in the community I work in… much like our country, the difference between the haves and the have nots can be extreme.  This can be hard for a five-year-old to understand.

This morning, when Henry walked in, he looked like his world was crumbling.  Henry has a lot going on at home and I’m sure, like many others, bringing a dollar for a smelly pencil was the last thing on his mother’s mind. Unfortunately for him, many of this friends were buying them and he really wanted one.

“What’s wrong Henry,” I asked kneeling down to be closer to his face.

“Well I thought I had a dollar on the bus, but I don’t,” he mumbled.

At this point, his face became red and blotchy and I could tell he was holding back tears.

“You know what, I don’t have a dollar to give you, but I have something else,” I said.

“What?” He wondered, still on the verge of crying.

“I can give you a hug,” I offered.

With that, he literally jumped into my arms and squeezed me harder than I’ve been squeezed in some time.

We actually hugged for awhile.  I squeezed him back.  I could tell he needed it.

When he pulled away, I told him, “You know what, that’s better than a pencil because it’s free and you can have one whenever you want.”

“And you know something else, you have something better than a pencil,” I continued.

“You have a wonderful smile, and that’s worth more than you know.”

I hope I comforted him.  I tried to show him that a little love is worth more than a pencil.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the pencils being sold at school, but I hope the next time they’re out there, Henry won’t mind if he gets a hug instead.


  1. Jane

    I love what you did for Henry.
    Why not buy up some of the pencils and use as a reward for something. (eg the kids are awarded points for whatever – behaviour, good work etc – a lot of points to get a pencil).

  2. Kim

    Wow. Your story moved me. I teach pre K and don’t see this much because I’m at a private christian school. Any child would be lucky to have you.

    Btw, I would have given him a pencil but your gift was way better!


  3. Very touching story. I’m sure you will figure something out. Good luck!

  4. At my son’s school last week it was a $10 yo yo. He earned the money for one but it still seems like a lot. :(

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