When Your Best Friend Is a Teacher…

by | Dec 12, 2021 | Christmas, Gifts, Giving, Love

Schools can be brutal places for teens. Especially girls. And with the Christmas season fast approaching, this particular girl who we will call “Sandra” was having an even tougher time than usual.

The problem for Sandra was that she had no friends.

She could put up fronts, remain aloof, pretend she didn’t care, bully her classmates; but the truth of the matter was, Sandra did care. She was keenly aware that no one liked her. I also believe she knew that her bullying would only drive people farther from her; but since the negative attention it brought her was better in her own eyes than no attention at all, she continued her anti-social tactics so that she at least didn’t feel invisible. But Christmas was approaching. All the other girls were whispering about what they would be getting for their friends. Sandra could already imagine that last day of school before the Christmas holidays. Everyone would leave with gifts in their hands and smiles on their faces. Everyone that is, except Sandra…

At the time, I was teaching in the lower grades, and Sandra was in Grade 8. Her classroom was on the third floor of the old building, while mine was on the bottom floor of the new building. Nonetheless, my lunch supervision duties took me to her floor, and that’s how I became aware of her.

Right from the beginning of the school year, I recognized that Sandra was her own worst enemy. Not only did her actions drive the other students away, but they made the teachers hate her as well. It saddened me to see the other girls laughing at her behind her back and to hear the teachers discussing her case behind closed doors.

I knew what it was like to be considered an outcast at school. Although I was never mean to students, I was constantly mocked by my classmates because of my coke-bottle glasses and because I didn’t speak Dutch as my first language. My heart cried out for Sandra, and one day, I made my way to where she slouched against the wall, and I tried to strike up a friendly conversation with her.

My efforts weren’t immediately rewarded; but over time, as I continued to try and befriend her, her icy front began to melt ever so slightly. I kept a jar of candy in my classroom to use for positive reinforcement, and one day I took her a chocolate bar. The ice melted further.

That last week of school before Christmas, however, I noticed a change in her. The icy front seemed to be returning, even around me. I didn’t know what was causing her change in demeanour, but it saddened me. I began to pray about this, and though the cause of her coldness wasn’t immediately revealed to me, I was impressed to prepare a Christmas present for her. I decided to give her a little book. I don’t even remember what the book was about, but I had it specially wrapped, and that last day before Christmas break, I slipped it into my pocket before climbing the stairs to do my lunchtime supervision. I had to look for Sandra, but when I finally found her, she was scrunched into a corner. It was as if she wished the walls would open and let her in. Even through her icy and aloof stance, I thought I saw some moisture around her eyes. Especially as she watched some of the other girls from her class exclaiming over the gifts their friends had given them…

I pulled the package out of my pocket and walked over to her. “Here, Sandra,” I said. “Merry Christmas!”

You have never seen such a drastic change in a student. Where her face had been as hard as a rock, she was suddenly smiling, and as she pressed the still unopened package up against her chest, I was sure that those were tears I saw streaming down her face. “Thank you, Mr. Chaffart,” she choked. “I think you are my only friend at school!”

That’s when I realized the reason behind her change in behaviour over the past few days. She had been afraid that no one would care enough about her to give her a present for Christmas!

That same day I would be inundated with gifts from my own students, but these didn’t make me nearly as happy as giving that gift to Sandra. It is truly better to give than to receive!

I believe Jesus knew all about the greater blessings of giving. He left the riches of Heaven to be born as a helpless baby to poverty-ridden human parents. He did this, knowing that in the end, this world He was giving Himself to would crucify Him. Yet He did it with joy: For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…” (Heb. 12:2 NIV). Why? Because the greatest joy isn’t in receiving, but in giving; in the unselfish giving of oneself for another.

As you approach the Christmas season, I urge you to remember that the greatest gift of all lies in unselfishly giving of yourself to another. That’s what Christmas is all about! Why not follow the Jesus Example this Christmas? Go out of your way to give to someone you wouldn’t ordinarily have given to. Put together a care package for the homeless man on the street. Make donations to the local soup kitchens, or even better, volunteer your time. Take your elderly neighbour shopping. Offer to watch the kids for the lady across the street so that she can go out and get some shopping done. Give your extra wool socks and mittens to the poor children at your kids’ school. The possibilities are endless; but when you sacrifice of your own time, talents and resources to make someone else happy this Christmas, you will be following Jesus’ example… AND … you will be living out the true Spirit of Christmas!

In His love,
Rob Chaffart
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries


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When Your Best Friend Is a Teacher…

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