In a mall school, we often know who is celebrating a birthday. Below is one of my favorite student birthday stories ever- you'll see why. It is from February 6, 2008.
It was on my desk when I came back to close my classroom before leaving for home yesterday. It was a string of eleven one dollar bills, stapled to a small piece of cardboard on which the word Honduras was scribbled. I did not see who left if but I knew. The kids at our school have a custom that I've never seen elsewhere. When a student celebrates a birthday, his/her schoolmates give dollar bills, subsequently attached to their uniform shirt. A well-liked young person may end up with a lengthy string of cash and a nice little payday. Yesterday was Dillon's birthday. A junior on our Wildcat basketball team, he's enough of a prankster that when I saw his dollar corsage, I had at least fleeting thoughts that he was pulling a fast one on all of us. At lunch, I saw family members delivering the obligatory goodies to celebrate the occasion so my unfounded suspicions were allayed. Dillon was the source of the money on my desk. In the past two weeks, we have kicked off our yearly collection of change for the two orphanages in Honduras we have helped build. That's what Dillon did with his birthday gift, signing it over for little ones whose dates of birth are rarely celebrated and possibly unknown.
In my sophomore Bible class today, we began quizzing over the Sermon on the Mount as recorded in Matthew's Gospel. My students learned from chapter 5 that the reason we should let our lights shine is so that our Father in Heaven will be praised. In chapter 6, they will see that Jesus taught our giving should be done in secret and its intent should never be self-glorification. Jesus promised a reward for the unwitnessed gifts from the greatest rewarder of all, the God of the universe. I held up the chain of George Washington's in my seventh period class and asked if they knew the source. We're a small school; they all knew it was Dillon. I told them the story of discovering the anonymous donation and I loved one girl's reaction: "I wish I was that unselfish." I wish I was, too. In Acts 20:35, Paul quotes Jesus as saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Somehow, Dillon managed to combine both sides of the equation in the course of a few short hours. I'd say that'a pretty good birthday.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest."
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