Doug Gets Rich
Posted by Neal on June 11, 2006
When Doug’s class went on an end-of-the-year picnic to a nearby park last week, they had to wear their official school T-shirts. These shirts are to be worn only on field trips (like this one), or on certain designated days at school, so it had been a while since I’d seen the shirt. I looked at it while I packed Doug’s lunch: It’s a beige shirt, with a 6-inch-diameter picture of a penny on the front. Under the penny are the inspiring words from the fourth-grader who won the T-shirt design contest last year:
If I had a penny for every new thing I learned at [this school], I’d be rich.
These words stared me in the face a few minutes later, as I rubbed sunscreen into Doug’s arms and neck. I pondered them while he put on his shoes and backpack. Just before he left for school, I got a penny, and said, “Doug, I want you to have this penny. Do you know what it’s for?”
“No,” he said.
“This penny,” I said, “is for every new thing you’ve learned at [your school]!”
You know, I don’t think Doug appreciated what I was doing for him. I saw that same penny again this morning, in the bottom of the washing machine with Doug’s school T-shirt and the shorts he wore that day.