Good-hearted kids are inspirational gift to their parents

December 23, 1993|By SUSAN REIMER

Just when you have given up hope that your children will be anything but rude, self-centered and selfish. Just when you thought you had surely failed at the only job that has ever meant anything to you. . . .

Just at that moment, your children almost instinctively give you reason to hope. They will surprise you with some generous insight, some random act of kindness, and give you the courage you need to continue being their parent.

Linda Ludvickson's fourth-graders at Germantown School have done just that with their holiday essays. During this holiday season, their assignment was to write about a gift they would give -- a gift money could not buy.

"Every year I am totally amazed," says Mrs. Ludvickson, a veteran teacher at the elementary school in Annapolis. "They are aware of things besides Nintendo and dirt bikes, and they are sensitive to the issues of their world.

"And every year when I give this assignment, they sit down and get busy. No complaining when they have to write it over in their best handwriting. They need less of my help than they usually do. I think the spirit comes over them. It is magical."

The children were told that their essays would be hung in the hall for everyone to read, so they must not write something they did not want people to know. Still, their essays were intensely personal, nearly heart-rending. "I learn things the child would never discuss with me."

Some of the children thought immediately of family. Dan Jarashow wrote that he would give the gift of patience to his older brother, Mark. "I like him, but sometimes he is not patient," Dan wrote. "I would like Mark a lot better if he had patience."

Dominique Edwards offered the gift of life to her sister "because I love her and she is a kind, good person. She needs life to grow up and go to college and get a job so she won't grow up and hang on the street and look bad. I want to see that she has a good life."

Deondrea Brown offered the gift of kindness to her sister. "I would give her this gift because I never treat her like I am supposed to."

Jack Dawson would give the gift of happiness to his younger brother, Jeff, who always wants to tag along when Jack goes to a friend's house to play. "My brother Jeff needs this because he doesn't really have any friends. . . he only really gets them to play with in school. Now Jeff is a little better at making friends but he still is mostly sad alot."

Andreas Pelekanos wrote that he would give the gift of courage to his little cousin, who is having trouble learning to walk. "I guess it comes along when you grow," he wrote. "Then, when she is older, we can run and ride bikes around the neighborhood."

Tiffany Henson would give the gift of love to her mother, whom she does not often see. "I miss my mom so much. I think my mom is a sweet person and I hope to see her very soon."

Many of the children thought of animals. James Sides would give the gift of freedom to an eagle. Sharon Hall would give the gift of hope to the sea manatees. "Boats are hitting the sea manatees and they are dying." Kasey McWilliams would give the gift of freedom to endangered species. "People who make animals endangered should be endangered, too."

Keenan Leader wrote that he would give the gift of good health to his aging dog, Victor. "I have been through Victor's parent's deaths and I don't think I can go through another."

Adrienne Carter would give the gift of freedom to the whales. "People try to kill them and use their fat for make-up and other things. Please let's keep the whales free."

La Crisha Lawson would give the gift of friendship to the world, so the fighting and killing would stop. "The world might be in terrible danger if we keep on fighting. If I give the gift of friendship, everyone will stop fighting and we will hopefully be able to talk about our differences."

And a student named Joseph, whom I know for a fact often thinks about putting his little sister out by the side of the road, offered the gift of shelter for the homeless. "I think it is unfair that they are poor because they are equal to us, they just have no money. Some or most carry a cart or a backpack with there home and possessions inside."

And to Mrs. Ludvickson, from the parents of all her thoughtful, generous and sensitive students, thank you for the gift of hope.

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