Saturday, January 12, 2013

< RM > story - Tommy's Essay

Tommy's Essay

Soon Tommy's parents, who had recently
separated, would arrive for a conference on
his failing schoolwork and disruptive behav-
ior. Neither parent knew that I had sum-
moned the other.
Tommy, an only child, had always been
happy, cooperative, and an excellent stu-
dent. How could I convince his father and
mother that his recent failing grades repre-
sented a brokenhearted child's reaction to
his adored parents' separation and pending
Tommy's mother entered and took one of
the chairs I had placed near my desk. Then
the father arrived. They pointedly ignored
each other.
As I gave a detailed account of Tommy's
behavior and schoolwork, I prayed for the
right words to bring these two together to
help them see what they were doing to their
son. But somehow the words wouldn't come.
Perhaps if they saw one of his smudged,
carelessly done papers.
I found a crumpled, tear-stained sheet
stuffed in the back of his desk. Writing cov-
ered both sides, a single sentence scribbled
over and over.
Silently I smoothed it out and gave it to
Tommy's mother. She read it and then with-
out a word handed it to her husband. He
frowned. Then his face softened. He studied
the scrawled words for what seemed an eter-
At last he folded the paper carefully and
reached for his wife's outstretched hand. She
wiped the tears from her eyes and smiled up
at him. My own eyes were brimming, but nei-
ther seemed to notice.
In his own way God had given me the
words to reunite that family. He had guided
me to the sheet of yellow copy paper covered
with the anguished outpouring of a small
boy's troubled heart.
"Dear Mother . . . Dear Daddy . . . I love
you . . . I love you . . . I love you."

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