Arthur’s Valentines

Maria has made sure that Tina has written a Valentine to each of her classmates. Now that that’s done, she settles in to write Valentines to her stuffed animals.

Maria’s care in making sure that all Tina’s classmates are accounted for brings to mind a long ago Valentine’s Day.

I was working in an inner city elementary school attended by a young boy named Arthur. Arthur was different, and so was his mother. Day after day she called the school and complained about a variety of issues until some creative, compassionate person hit upon a solution—invite her to volunteer. What a change! The complainer used her considerable talents for the benefit of others, and the complaints screeched to a halt.

But what of Arthur? He was still different, and in ways not appreciated by the “in” crowd—or any other crowd. I don’t remember the kids bullying him, but I do remember him being alone.

One February 13 his teacher came to me with dismal news. She’d opened the class Valentine box to check it before the party the next day, and poor Arthur had no Valentines.

What to do? The teacher produced a couple of kid-style cards from her desk, and we each wrote an anonymous one to Arthur in kid-style writing. I signed mine from a “secret friend.”

The teacher noticed Arthur studying his Valentines the next day, no doubt trying to guess the identity of his two secret friends!

I make no claims to have solved Arthur’s social problems, but I do believe that the kindness and initiative shown by his teacher made his life a little easier that day.

A few—very few—Arthurs bring firearms to school and make headlines. Most just live out their sad lives barely noticed by those blessed with friends.

Let’s look for the Arthurs, and in our treatment of them let us honor their Creator and brighten their days!

“I am only one. But still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett


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