As the new school year approaches, I give thought to the returning students. The truth is that there are students with needs we can help fulfill. How can we help? The why we help is as important as the how.
We know that some students have gaps that we can stand in, either in supplies or heart. But we must not draw attention to those gaps! Students with gaps are painfully aware of them, and tend to feel that those gaps set them apart. Belonging, being a part of – not different – is very important to them. We know they are there, we know how to help. We must be sure that we do not jeopardize the recipient’s dignity.
I have worked at many schools and have had personal experiences with students and their needs. I’m happy to report the staff at those schools are wonderful at behind the scenes work toward meeting those needs. I knew students who were homeless but nevertheless continued attending school, knowing school was a part of their road to success. I had the privilege to have students come to me with their needs, a real act of trust on their part. I provided some small needs, in the background.
I was not alone in this endeavor. I know of many school staff who keep food, lunch makings, breakfast etc. in their rooms and allow those students to come eat breakfast, or make their lunch, put it in a lunch sack and walk with dignity into the lunch room, knowing that no one in the lunchroom knows where their lunch came from. This is vital to the trust these students put in us. They learn to trust us and they share with others that we can be trusted.
This is an example of filling the gap with dignity. Other students needed time, to process tears before going to class. Many, many staff members are filling this need every day, to me this is grace. None of these staff members will identify themselves or the students who come for assistance. You won’t hear these stories from the staff members.
This is again filling the gap with dignity. This is showing these students the love and hope there is in the world.
If we want to be of service, to fill the gap, we must do so quietly. We must be sure of our own motives. If we truly want to fill that gap to be of genuine service, we call no attention to our service! We do it quietly, in private or anonymously, allowing the recipient to receive it with dignity.
No flashing signs. To boast violates the recipient and ourselves.
If you want to be of service, to give, do it out of the limelight. Do it from the calm heart that knows giving is a special connection. It’s not about us, it’s about the recipient. We CAN stand in the gap with love.
So go be of service, give freely, knowing that although the recipient may not know you, you’ve shown them the love the world has to offer.
It is very easy, donate to Journey to Dream, who is quietly filling the gap for teens in Denton County.
I remain anonymous, in the spirit of service.