The Trip

Photo Credit (by Richard Galapte) on Pexels

“I’m going to take my family on vacation this summer, Mr. Springer,” said Lily, packing her belongings at the end of school one day.

As a teacher, I was used to hearing kids’ outlandish tales.  “That’s nice, Lily.  Where are you planning to go? I asked my reserved 2nd-grade student, half expecting her to tell me she had plans for an elephant ride in Africa or a trip in a spaceship to the moon.

“We’ve never taken a trip before.  I’m going to take my family to Crescent City.”

Crescent City is eighty-five miles north, with a population of just over 6,000 people.  It’s not a place that most people would dream of going on vacation.  While I had always found Lily to be an honest child, I think it was the sincerity in her voice that made me wonder if she could be telling me the truth.  “Really?  What do you mean you’re taking your family?”

“I’m going to pay for the trip,” she said with certainty.

I felt another wave of skepticism, but I didn’t want to burst her bubble and tell her that 2nd-graders couldn’t possibly take their family anywhere.  “Trips cost a lot of money, Lily.  How would you pay for it?”

“I’m doing chores at home,” she said as if that should put an end to my questions.

The 3:00 bell rang, and I went through the daily reminders with the class.  “Make sure you pick up around your desk.  Does everybody have their math homework?  Oh, and remind your parents to fill out your permission slip for the field trip next week.  If you don’t return it by Wednesday, then you can’t go.  It would be sad if you had to miss out.  Do you all understand?”

“Yes, Mr. Springer,” the students answered in unison.

“Wait, we’re going on a field trip tomorrow?” asked Gabriel.

I laughed to myself, knowing that it didn’t matter how many times we had already discussed the field trip.  I had long ago accepted that some students either weren’t focused or wouldn’t process the information.

“Gabriel, we’re not going tomorrow,” began Heather.  “The field trip to the pumpkin patch isn’t until next Friday.  You have to bring one dollar if you want a pumpkin.  You’re supposed to have your field trip form turned in by Wednesday.”

Certain things repeated themselves day after day in a classroom.  There will always be kids who don’t get the information by the third or fourth try and others who soak up every nugget of information. They take it upon themselves to inform their classmates about all the details.  Heather was an excellent student, the type of child who remembered what I had said precisely about everything for the last month.  She reminded me of Radar, from the television show, M*A*S*H.  I pictured her someday being a manager or a well-paid administrative assistant, keeping her boss on track.

When everyone was ready, Brian led the line for those children who were attending the after-school program.  I guided the remainder of the class down the hall to meet their families in front of the school.  As we trudged along, I noticed that Lily was near the front of the line. “So, Lily, what kind of chores are you doing around the house?” I asked.

“I vacuum, do the dishes, fold the laundry, and sweep the kitchen.”

“That’s great.  It sounds like you’re working hard.  Do you know how much money you have to raise?”

“$300.  My mom said it costs that much to stay in the hotel and to take my family out to dinner.” 

I quickly did some mental math and realized that her figures were probably in the neighborhood of the actual costs.  Was it possible that a second-grader had devised this goal on her own?  “Don’t you mean you’re going to help your mom pay for the trip?

“No, I’m paying for the whole trip,” she insisted.

I was intrigued and wanted to know more, but now it was time to say goodbye, as we’d reached the front of the school.  I released the children into their parents’ care.

I headed for the staff room to use the bathroom.  One of the prerequisites of teaching in elementary school is that you must hold your bladder for extended periods.  I walked in and saw there was a small line forming in front of the bathroom.  “How was your day, Pete?” asked my colleague, Beth Masters, a veteran of twenty-five years teaching.  “My kids were wild today.  I think the wind sets them off.” 

“We had a pretty good day.  Lily just told me a story about her plans to take her family on a trip.”  I remembered that Beth had taught Lily the year before, and I retold the story of Lily’s intentions.  “Do you think they may have never taken a vacation together?”

Beth said, “It could be.  I don’t think they have a lot.  Lily’s mom has all of those mouths to feed.  It has to be tough.  I know her mom’s a nurse, doing the best she can.”

I remembered Lily had several older siblings.  I didn’t know the family well, but I recalled seeing them at some school basketball games.  Lily’s brother, Justin, played with my son on the team.  I had a memory of Lily’s family piling in and out of their sizeable blue van before and after those 5th-6th-grade games.  It seemed like there would typically be six or seven family members in attendance.  It made an impression on me because it was unusual to see so many people supporting one child. 

“I don’t know much about them,” I said.  “Lily’s mom seems very private.”

“She’s a quiet one,” Beth replied, “but I’ve got to commend her for keeping that family together.” 

I didn’t know the exact circumstances, but I remembered Lily’s mom telling me the father was no longer in the picture.

While we were waiting, Beth added. “I taught Lily’s older sister, Martina, a couple of years ago.  I didn’t have much contact with the mother when Martina was in my class.  Let me know how this turns out.”

“I will.  I want Lily’s family to be able to take this trip.”

The following day, I got a chance to continue my conversation with Lily.  The rest of the class had gone out to recess, and she was finishing her snack at her desk.  “Lily, I wanted to ask you a few more questions about your trip.  If you don’t mind my asking, how much money do you still have to raise?”

“I’ve saved $120 so far.”

“How long have you been working on this?” I asked, knowing that it was November and still the first part of the school year.”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Since school started, I guess.”

“I think it’s pretty awesome that you are doing this for your family.  I hope you don’t mind if I check in with you once in a while to see how it’s going.”

“It’s okay,” she said, smiling back at me.

When I got home that night, I told my wife, Debbie, about Lily’s selflessness.  “If Lily can’t raise the money they need for the trip, I want to help them out.  My family went on so many trips together when we were kids.”  I thought of my three older brothers and how my parents never thought twice about traveling across the country with all of us in our station wagon.  It was something that I took for granted when I was a child, and I didn’t realize (at the time) how lucky we were to share in so many of these experiences.

“Are you sure her mom would be open to you giving them money?”  Debbie asked.  “She might have too much pride to accept it.  I know you want to help, but you have to be sensitive to the family.”

“I’ve thought about that, and I’m not sure how she’d take it.  I think the thing to do is to wait and see if Lily can raise the money.  Can you believe this little girl devised this goal herself?”

In one sense, I was surprised, realizing that the circumstances were unusual.  On the other hand, I knew children have remarkably kind hearts.  I had to consider that everything was what it appeared to be.

As the weeks turned into months, and the school year continued, I occasionally checked in privately with Lily to see how things were progressing.  Each time I asked, she seemed proud to report back to me.  “I’m getting closer.  My mom tells me I can do it.”

It was now the end of May, and school would be out in two weeks.  I had told myself before that if Lily hadn’t raised the money by the first of June, I would give her mom a call to offer my help. 

The next day, after I took my class to lunch, Lily returned to the room while I was working. I was used to kids coming back at lunchtime to grab a coat or a ball before they went out to lunch recess, so I didn’t find it unusual.  My concentration was on the letter I was typing to my students’ parents.  I looked up in surprise to see her standing so close.  “Do you need something, Lily?  Can I help you?”

After a few seconds of silence, she sheepishly said, “I did it.”

“Did what?”

“I raised the money for our trip.”

I got out of my chair, stood up, and opened my arms to show that I wanted to hug her.  She understood my gesture and immediately came and squeezed me tightly.  “I’m so proud of you, Lily.  You are a determined little girl.  What a nice thing you have done for your family.”  She didn’t say anything, but I could tell by the enormous grin on her face that she was proud of herself.

On the last day of school, I gave out my address to my students as had become my custom.  I encouraged them to write a letter in the summer telling me about their happenings.  By the end of the day, I knew most papers would be lost or forgotten, but I continued this tradition as every summer, I would hear from two or three of my students.

I secretly hoped that Lily would write me a note about her family’s trip.  Unfortunately, no letter came from her that summer.  I didn’t see her much the following school year, and I never had the ideal situation to talk to her privately to see if their trip had been a success.  Over the years, I thought less and less about this event, but occasionally when I was reminiscing about former students, her act of kindness would cross my mind. 

Several years later, I stopped at a local burger restaurant to get dinner on my way home from work one night.  When I walked in, Lily was working behind the counter.  Since I live in the same city that I taught for thirty-one years, it’s not unusual to run into former students.  She came out from behind the cash register and gave me a warm hug. 

I said, “It’s so good to see you, Lily.  What year are you in school now?”

“I’m a senior,” she answered grinning.

“So, what have you been up to?  How long have you been working here?”

“Since last year.  I decided I wanted to get a car.”

I nodded and remembered the feeling of excitement of buying my first vehicle, a bright, pumpkin orange Chevy Nova.  “How long will it be until you’re able to do that?”

“Oh, I already bought it,” she said with a touch of pride.

I would have liked to talk more and ask her if she was planning on going to college, but I realized that she was working and other people behind me wanted service.  I ordered and moved out of the way.  When my food was ready, she was still waiting on other customers.  I gave a quick wave to her and left.  I got into my car and fought back the tears as my thoughts immediately returned to that shy little girl with a big heart I taught in 2nd grade.  She had grown into a responsible, young adult and probably had no idea how her act of kindness toward her family inspired me.

Epilogue  

Since my encounter with Lily at the fast-food restaurant a decade ago, I decided to write a book about my life as a teacher entitled, They Call Me Mom. https://www.amazon.com/They-Call-Mom-Difference-Elementary/dp/1977200052 I wanted to include Lily’s story in my book, but I felt that I should reach out and ask if I could share it.  We had become friends on Facebook in the interim, and I wrote to Lily and told her my desire to include her story in my book.  I asked if I could send the part that pertained to her to see if I had accurately captured the gist of it. 

After reading my memories, she wrote me back and wanted me to know that her family took that trip to Crescent City.  She also remembered that her mom had paid for the family’s vacation.  Her mom wanted Lily to keep the money she had raised rather than spending it on the family.  Lily recalled using some of the money on clothes for herself.  She also wanted me to know that I had been one of her favorite teachers and had many good memories from being in my class. 

She described how she would be graduating later that year from college after taking medical assistant classes. Lily was pleased that I had included her story and surprised to be in a book because she never pictured herself affecting another person that way.  One of the ironies of teaching for me was that while I was trying to educate children and be a positive role model, they frequently taught me through their actions about heart, kindness, and generosity.

Lily is now a medical assistant.  I was touched a few years ago when she invited me to her housewarming party.  I proudly attended and shared in her joy.    

Writer’s Note:  Out of respect and privacy to this family, I have changed the names.  The story is true, and I have tried to recapture it as best as I can remember.

113 thoughts on “The Trip

  1. What a wonderful story. Children can be so kind and thoughtful. How wonderful of the mom to teach her about setting goals and working toward them. A skill she will have her entire life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 2:16 pm

      Absolutely! As parents, we need to teach our kids important values like kindness, compassion, empathy, and hard work rather than buying them material things.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m fortunate to have had parents who thought my brother and me those very things.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 5:24 pm

        I always knew that I came from a good family and was lucky to have great parents and brothers, but it did not truly register until I taught and saw how hard some of these kids’ lives were. What if the people who are supposed to love you and set a good example can’t manage their own lives? How can they be a good role model for their kids?

        Growing up in a house with love and stability are the key ingredients.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It is very sobering to learn how rough some children have it at home.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Children can teach us a thing or two about determination and responsibility. I’m glad Lily and her family took that trip ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 4:32 pm

      So many lessons to be learned in life. Sometimes kids are the best teachers.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks so much for sharing Lily’s story, Pete! I feel so happy and proud of Lily and of you–teachers rock and so do their students. ❤ No dry eyes here… xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 4:35 pm

      I know you get it, Bette. We get invested in our students. I knew she was going to grow up and be something special. She was a quiet kid, but the one who always looked out for the others who needed a friend or didn’t have anyone to play with.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. What a heart-warming story, Pete. This is why we teach, innit. I loved my 2nd graders.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 4:40 pm

      There are great things and difficult challenges in teaching any grade. People ask me all the time what my favorite grade was to teach, but that’s like asking which one of your kids is your favorite. I liked the independence of third graders, but the fifth-grade curriculum was the best.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have to agree. I taught K-8 technology. Each grade made me think they were my favorite.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a heartwarming story!! So glad you shared it. Kids are precious and how special of her Mom to let her spend it on herself but take them on vacation. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 4:42 pm

      Mom’s parenting skills are a big part of the story. It’s no accident that she’s raised strong, thoughtful kids. She empowered her daughter and made her feel good about herself.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 💕We need parents like her Mom!

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  6. These are the stories that only occur when two things happen: The teacher is vested in the child, not just the ‘student’, and the child knows how the teacher feels. You are a role model for teachers, Pete. I have said that, and I will say it again. More importantly, you have made a difference in the lives of children. Simply put, you love children- and that’s what makes a good teacher a great teacher.

    I really enjoyed reading this post, and how Lily was always in your thoughts. I loved how you were there from beginning in your class till adulthood. What a great story! And, it was more than Lily. The other students were terrific characters, and I already have a name on the tip of my tongue for those same students in my class. Children don’t change over the years. Thank you, Pete!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well said, Jennie! Pete’s telling of Lily’s story was compelling, heartwarming, and inspiring.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I whole heartedly agree, Liz. Pete’s story was all you say.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 5:35 pm

      The most important ingredient in any teacher is they have to love children. I worked with so many fantastic folks who were dedicated and enjoyed being around kids. Occasionally, I’d see someone who might be a technically sound teacher whose lessons were adequate, but the missing ingredient was they weren’t invested in their students’ futures.

      The kids come back and visit teachers like you, Jennie, because they know you care, and they don’t want to let you down. As Rita Pearson says in one of my favorite TedTalks, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” You keep doing your thing, Jennie. You are inspiring children and even retired teachers like me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it comes down to love. Rita Pearson said it well on her great TedTalk. We’re both ‘cut from the same cloth’, as my grandmother would say. And fortunately many other teachers are, too. Thank you, Pete. I’ll keep doing my thing. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a heartwarming story. I am so glad that you kept in touch and were able to see what a wonderful young woman Lily become. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 7:59 pm

      I would tell anyone in education (I was lucky enough to have four student teachers) that one of the most rewarding parts of teaching is when you see a child years later, and they remind you of some important moment from your class. They remember and come back to visit. I consider myself quite fortunate to live in the same town where I taught, which increases the probability of running into former students. I taught many second-generation students even to teach with one of my former pupils during the last few years of my career. One of my old second-grade kids now cuts my hair while another does our taxes. There are lots of connections wherever I go. Pretty special!

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  8. what a beautiful, beautiful story for so many reasons

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 7:50 pm

      I love everything about this memory on so many levels. Mainly I like to see students grow up to be happy and achieve their goals while being conscious of the world and their role in it. What a special child (now young adult)!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I so get that –

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  9. what a beautiful story; it’s been a while since I read your book, so it was nice to be reminded about Lily. It is students like Lily that makes teaching such a rewarding career. And as you point out, teachers often learn just as much from their students. And what a great idea to share your address with your students; did you change that to email in later years?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 8:23 pm

      I stuck with letters. That’s part of the old school Springer gene. One of my regular assignments was to have the kids write to a family member or friend. Sadly, many had never done this before, and very few had any idea about addressing an envelope (even in 5th and 6th grades.) This version is a little more complete than the one I told in my book, and her name was something else there. 😎

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  10. What a gorgeous story, Pete. Children are remarkable. I have known a few generous souls like Lily.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 8, 2021 — 10:01 pm

      One of the things I like best about children is they aren’t filled with opinions about others’ skin tones, religion, ethnicity, etc. They accept everyone, regardless of their background.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They do! We can learn a lot from little children. Especially before they have learned too much from us. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I think I teared up a few times reading your post. It really touched my heart… I was a shy and timid child in elementary school but one teacher really made a difference in my life and how I saw myself… Because I was painfully shy I was often scared of having attention on me but she made me feel seen and made me feel like I mattered… She was literally the first person who made me feel that way… Unfortunately she passed away a few years ago but I got a chance to write her a letter before she passed… I never forgot her even when we weren’t in touch and I was told by another teacher of mine /her colleague of many years that they used to get together to talk about some of their best students… Thanks for your post, brought back fond memories for me… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:37 am

      I really do believe that a teacher has the power to change somebody’s life. It’s not hyperbole. I’m sorry to keep doing this, but your remembrances made me think of this post about gathering with my retired colleagues. We ALWAYS talk about our students and what became of them. It’s hard not to get invested in their lives. https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/2020/02/12/my-second-family/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Look forward to hearing more interesting stories about your teaching career!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so glad Lilly’s family got to have their holiday. Our children were brought up living right by Heathrow Airport. Children of airline staff with their cheap concessions would be jetting off to Disneyland and exotic locations. Asian children would have long holidays to visit relatives. But other children never went anywhere! We made it to the seaside or to stay with friends in other parts of the country. Having a holiday anywhere is good – family time away from every day life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:41 am

      It was not lost on me that many children in the class were excited before some holiday and the prospect of having time off from school while others were sad because the alternative was worse. Not every child goes home to a calm and stable home. School provided that for children whose lives might be otherwise chaotic.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. What an amazingly determined person. That trait clearly helped her in later years as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:42 am

      She is a remarkable young woman with an even brighter future.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A wonderful story beautifully told, Pete! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:44 am

      Thanks, Brad. I hope you are well.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wonderful story Pete. Even as a school secretary I had students that inspired me with their stories. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:48 am

      I’ve got many special memories of many of the school secretaries I worked with, Peggy You are the backbone of the school, often gaining insight about children before a teacher knows. My first school secretary, Norma, occasionally comments on my blog. She is in her nineties and still golfing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Norma sounds like quite a lady – still golfing in her nineties. I am 78 and still going strong – never give up is my motto.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 11:24 am

        That’s the attitude I try to have, too. Good for you, Peggy! We need all this good energy because it does have an effect on others.

        Like

  16. Selflessness and the excitement of a child to bring something fun to her family – earn it by saving her money…pure love.
    Your thoughtful probing – yet unintrusive – was a form of support that subtly ‘validated’ her plans.
    And now, here, she’s inspiring your readers!
    Great vignette, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:50 am

      Thank you, Laura. So many lessons learned by the teacher and student.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. A beautiful story, Pete. Lily’s mum must be a remarkable person to have raised such a wonderful daughter single-handed, with lots of other kids too. This was an inspiring read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 10:54 am

      Behind giving children, you can almost always find a wonderful parent or another important role model to understand why kids have adopted their values. Lily’s mom is a huge reason (the most important one) why Lily is the way she is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those role models are so important for us. I’ve never been a teacher but in many years of work I rarely failed to spot the ones whose childhood was lacking.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 11:22 am

        I’m sure you were good at your job, Clive. It does take a village…

        Liked by 1 person

  18. What a lovely and inspiring story! When you were a teacher, did you often find it was the boys who had trouble focusing and retaining information rather than the girls?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 11:00 am

      I hesitate to make generalizations, but my experience is they retained information equally. On the other hand, girls matured much faster than boys in many ways. I found second and third-grade girls to be so pleasant to be around. It wasn’t that the boys weren’t pleasant; it was more that they hadn’t matured yet. By the time they reached fifth and sixth grades, the boys were much easier to deal with than the girls.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’ve also found that girls mature faster than boys.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. What a beautiful and touching story! There are a lot of kind and loving people out there that are channeling their energy to make others happy. Very heartwarming. You are such a good storyteller, I hope that you are making progress on your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 11:10 am

      Thanks, Margie. Don’t you think humans feed off the positivity of others? The same thing can happen with negative people in our lives. Who the hell needs that?

      I’m like the turtle in the turtle and the hare story. I’m wired to go a little slower and try to get it right. I’m finally putting the finishing touches on my first middle school novel. I don’t like talking about it much with my friends because they don’t understand what a perfectionist I am. More than once, I’ve had someone say, “Whatever happened to that book you were working on?” “Uh, still working on it.” 😎 The goal is to try and find an agent in 2021 and give it my best shot. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll probably self-publish. Either way, I’m having fun. That’s important to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We absolutely feed of others energy! I’m usually the hare in the story, but I do get the turtle 🙂 finding a publisher is probably as hard as writing the book 😦 I hope you can find one AND have fun!

        Liked by 1 person

  20. What an incredible story, Pete. You know, we send our children to school without even a thought of how that child might affect a teacher’s life and memory. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 11:12 am

      It really is a mutually beneficial relationship. The best reward as a retired teacher is hearing from former students and seeing what they’re up to years later.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That speaks volumes as to the kind of teacher you were, Pete!

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I love this story! It brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. You have quite a gift, you know?? ✍️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 11:15 am

      I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds of teachers during your years as an educator, Katharine. Most are in it for the right reasons. We all have our strengths and weaknesses as teachers. I have always been able to connect with kids. (Perhaps they see someone of similar intelligence? 😂) What I hope they know is I’ll always be in their corner.

      Like

  22. Wow! What wonderful memories, and what a wonderful story. I always think of teachers impacting their students life (as several did mine), but never stopped to think the opposite is also true. This was a beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 3:42 pm

      I got to have dinner a couple of months ago with a student from my second year. I taught him in fifth grade, and now he’s in his mid-forties. That was a special night sharing many laughs and memories from those days.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 3:43 pm

      Thank you, John. Best wishes to you and your family in 2021.

      Like

  23. Well done, Mr Springer. Well done.
    I never ceased to be amazed how genuine acts of caring, regardless of how small or large they are, can leave an indelible mark on both the giver and recipient.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 6:51 pm

      Thanks, Ray. Most definitely a two-way street.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Such a heartwarming story, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 9, 2021 — 9:49 pm

      There are hard years when you teach (such as the one teachers find themselves in now), and then there are moments like this that make it all feel worthwhile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s partly what keeps teachers going, I think, knowing there will be more of those good times:)

        Liked by 1 person

  25. I know how proud you are with Lily. I would be proud to have such a responsible student also, Pete. She decided to do something and she had the determination to get there. Good to hear that you were just favorite teacher. Thank you for sharing the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 10, 2021 — 10:32 am

      As you well know, Miriam, you can’t really have favorites in the education business, but I do admit there are some who I root for just a little bit harder. Lily was one of those kids because she had such a kind heart and felt confident she would go on to great things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was a favorite student of my first grade and fourth grade teacher. My first grade teacher said I was bright and it made a huge difference in my entire life. We could have many favorite students. Probably it’s not a matter of showing favoritism but a matter of how we interact with the students. We could say many positive things about certain students but they don’t respond in a positive way. I told my daughter’s 6th teacher that her compliment to my daughter carries her a long way.

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Loved this story – both my son and late daughter in law taught in schools and they too had many such stories to tell – I’ve only just come across your posts and look forward to reading more of your stories – thank you for sharing – Lois

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 10, 2021 — 10:23 am

      Thank you, Lois. I like writing about many things, but I do enjoy remembering my old students. The one thing about us teachers—we all have stories.

      Like

  27. Hi Pete, this is a beautiful story and I got goosebumps reading it here. Some people are just born with generous spirits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 10, 2021 — 10:27 am

      As you may remember, I taught in grades 2-6 over the course of my career. It really was remarkable that a child that young could be so thoughtful toward others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, Pete, some people are born sensitive and with empathy.

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Such a touching story, Pete – Lily sounds like such a lovely person. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 11, 2021 — 9:49 am

      I try to follow their progress from afar without being too creepy. It’s just so fun for me to see what students end up doing with their lives. There are some predictable outcomes but other times I am quite surprised.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I loved this post Pete! What a beautiful story about hope and determination. “Lily” sounds like a true earth angel. Thanks for sharing this inspirational story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 11, 2021 — 8:40 pm

      She is just a beautiful soul. The kind of person that brightens up a room. You know I love bragging about my students.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And you are entitled. Thanks for sharing the story 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  30. What a wonderful story! And how well the mother had raised Lily and taught her about life and hard work. Would that all parents did that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 12, 2021 — 2:37 pm

      Yes, the mom is a huge part of this story. I’m glad that you recognized her, Noelle. Kids don’t turn out the way they do on accident.

      Like

  31. I can see why your followers have embraced this story so enthusiastically. You obviously taught with heart, mind, and SOUL. Just a few days ago, going through stuff I found a thank you letter from a former student named Ann Louise dated July 24, 1966, my birthday. Teaching does not fill our pockets with tons of money, but it sure is a fulfilling way to live.

    I can tell you didn’t think of your position as a job, but as a calling!
    Kudos, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 12, 2021 — 6:46 pm

      Even though I’m retired, I still try to pay attention to what former students are up to. I hear from some on Facebook, text, and even the occasional letter. They seek advice, share memories, and sometimes tell me what they’re up to today. I am still fully invested in their futures as I know that some of these young people will be the leaders of the next generation. A “calling” is the right description for what my career was to me. What a special treasure to come across that letter. Thank you for your years of service as a teacher, Marian.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. What a wonderful story Pete.. and Lily sounds like an amazing young woman and clearly had the determination to succeed at anything she decided to take on.. I will share in the next Blogger Daily.x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 13, 2021 — 7:36 am

      These are the kinds of stories that made my career special. It always comes down to the students. Most teachers get invested in their students’ lives, not just for the year they were in our class, but beyond. Thanks so much, Sally.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pleasure Pete and both you and Jennie have touched the hearts of your students and I love that she gets invited to graduations…what a legacy you both are establishing..x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor January 13, 2021 — 8:27 am

        One of my new Bucket List items is to meet Jennie in person when we get back east. She is a teacher of teachers.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That will be amazing Pete… I bet you never stop talking lol..hugs

        Like

  33. I was going to comment here that I’d read this post before (thinking it was a reshare), but then I remembered that I’d read it in your book! It was just as good the second time. A great story and what a wonderful experience for Lily. Her mom was very wise. That girl will go far! Well done, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 14, 2021 — 1:45 pm

      This is the more complete version of the story. Lily’s mom did all the right things in this situation by empowering her little girl. Not surprisingly, she’s raised a family of responsible, hard-working children (now young adults.)

      Liked by 1 person

  34. I found that really moving. It’s the little things that can mean so very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 14, 2021 — 1:49 pm

      People are often surprised to hear the effect that our students had on us as teachers. The ones that I rooted for the hardest were those kids trying to do the right thing despite a lack of good role models at home. In this case, Lily’s mom was the perfect role model. Thanks for commenting, Alex.

      Like

  35. What a lovely story to share Pete. Much needed right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 14, 2021 — 8:03 pm

      I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to stories like this. Hallmark loves guys like me, Kim.🤣

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Pete …what a beautiful inspiring story …tissue time for me…How lovely that over the years you have touched base with your students and you, Sir, made quite an impression on them methinks…xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 17, 2021 — 8:51 am

      When kids would come back to visit me years later, I recognized this was their way of thanking me for being their teacher. I was always touched when they did. As I tried to communicate in my post, they also had a profound effect on me. I’m still invested in their lives, years, and sometimes decades later.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Great story, Pete. I am always amazed when others provide inspiration. You have my utmost respect as a teacher. So many young minds need gentle crafting. Lily’s story is very hearwarming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 17, 2021 — 2:01 pm

      Thank you, John. I worked with some very dedicated people. In fact, I organize a retirement lunch for my fellow retirees and me each month. We haven’t been able to get together because of COVID. I miss them and hearing the latest on some of the kids we taught.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a nice idea. I’ve moved away from my place work so getting together with fellow retirees is almost impossible.

        Liked by 1 person

  38. A very wonderful and heartwarming story! Thank you Pete! The story is showing too, how important it is having a great teacher, not only seeing teaching as a business. Have a beautiful week! Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 17, 2021 — 2:04 pm

      I obviously wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t get paid, but I never thought of teaching in terms of a business. It was and always should be about the students. You have a fantastic week as well. Please remind me where you are from, Michael.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you Pete! Here – as sad as true – most of the younger teacher only looking on the money, they can earn with teaching. Prevents a lot of helpful ideas. Thank you, Pete! I am from Germany, better Bavaria (because in Bavaria is a very special teaching system, fully oriented on one of the bigger Christian Churches).;-) Enjoy your week too. Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor January 18, 2021 — 8:20 am

        My dad’s side of the family is from Germany—hence the name Springer. Your English is getting better all the time. You are one of the many bloggers who always show respect to others.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you very much, Sally! I try to get better skills, and reading empowers it very much. Oh yes, a very worse situation, with this virus. Our lockdown now is till midst of February.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. Thank you for sharing this story, Pete. I’m a retired educator as well, and you’ve brought back many memories. I look forward to reading your book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 17, 2021 — 7:02 pm

      Thank you for your years of service, Gwen. What level did you teach at?

      If you’re interested, I’m the administrator for a Facebook group called Supporters for Teachers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/281121539162065 The problem is that even though my notifications tell me that someone has asked to join the group, it doesn’t tell me who. The only way I’ve figured a way around that is by adding someone on my regular Facebook page first. If you’re interested, I’ll send you a friend request.

      Like

  40. A very inspiring story, Pete. I hope Lily keeps doing well. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor January 24, 2021 — 5:30 pm

      I root for all of my students, but I have to admit some I follow a bit closer because we get invested in their lives. I know she will be a success with whatever she does. Unsurprisingly, she continues to be a positive young lady. Thanks for stopping by, Olga.

      Like

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