A teacher sees that a child from a wealthy family takes off her shoes in the playground every day. She calls in the parents who are stunned by her revelation.
Miss Ward watched smiling as her third-graders ran out into the playground with happy cries. Then she noticed Bethany Nelson stop and take off her shoes.
The teacher frowned. It was the third day in a row that she'd seen Bethany kick off her shoes as soon as break started, and she'd told her to put her shoes back on. What was going on with that child?
Miss Ward was a teacher at an exclusive private school. | Source: Unsplash
"Bethany!" Miss Ward called. "You can't take off your shoes, honey!" Bethany turned towards Miss Ward and her little face fell. She bent down and put her shoes back on.
Miss Ward noticed that the child winced as she buckled her shoes. "Bethany?" she asked. "Are you hurt?" She walked over and placed a gentle hand on the child's shoulder.
Never be afraid to stand up for children.
"Did you twist your ankle?" the teacher asked.
Bethany shook her head. "No, Miss Ward," she said. "My shoes hurt me, they pinch."
The teacher bent down and pressed the front of Bethany's school shoes. "These shoes ARE too small!" she cried.
"I know, Miss," Bethany said. "They hurt a lot!"
Miss Ward confiscated Bethany's iPhone. | Source: Unsplash
"Did you tell your mom and dad?" asked Miss Ward. "It's the beginning of the year, so maybe they didn't notice how much you've grown."
"I tried to," Bethany explained. "But they're so busy!"
Miss Ward frowned. She knew that the family was well-off. Just the day before, she'd confiscated Bethany's iPhone (the very latest model and priced at well over $800) because she was texting in class.
So how could it be that these parents gave their child an expensive electronic device, but didn't think that she was outgrowing her shoes? The teacher went back into her classroom and sent the parents an e-mail.
She asked them to meet her the next day after school to talk about Bethany. The Nelsons responded promptly, asking for a different day because they had important things to do.
Miss Ward e-mailed them back: "What could be more important than Bethany's welfare?" The Nelsons capitulated and agreed to be at the school at 3:30 p.m.
As soon as she got to the playground, Bethany took off her shoes. | Source: Pexels
Miss Ward received Mr. and Mrs. Nelson in her classroom. She'd placed Bethany's bright pink iPhone on her desk, and Mrs. Nelson noticed it immediately.
"Oh," she said. "Is it about the phone? Bethany said you'd confiscated it."
"Yes," Miss Ward said. "I did. I don't allow phones in class and Bethany knows it. Phones are for emergencies only, and to be kept in their lockers."
"That's a bit harsh!" Mr. Nelson said with a charming smile and a wink. "You know kids...They want to be on the ball, ahead of the game..."
"Indeed," said Miss Ward. "Unfortunately, what I need to talk to you about is NOT the phone. Have you noticed that Bethany has outgrown her school shoes?"
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson stared at Miss Ward aghast. "Surely..." said Mrs. Nelson and blushed a vivid red. "Surely not!"
Miss Ward sent Bethany's parents an email. | Source: Unsplash
"I assure you, Mrs. Nelson," the teacher said. "I noticed that Bethany took her shoes off as soon as she got to the playground. I asked her why and she showed me. Your daughter's shoes are much too small. She can hardly walk in them without a great deal of pain."
"That child," cried Mr. Nelson. "Her head is in the clouds! She never told us..."
"I believe she did, Mr. Nelson," Miss Ward said. "She said that you and your wife are very busy and didn't have time to talk."
Now it was Mr. Nelson's turn to blush. "I assure you, Miss Ward," he said, raising his voice. "That my daughter has the very best of everything! Why, I bought her the very latest iPhone!"
"My daughter has only to ask," chimed in Mrs. Nelson. "And she gets anything she wants!"
Mr. Nelson was shocked by Miss Ward's revelation. | Source: Pexels
"Does she get what she needs?" asked Miss Ward gently. "How much time did you spend with your daughter over the summer?"
The Nelsons looked at each other guiltily. "Bethany had summer camp," Mrs. Nelson said. "Then she went to a tennis workshop and horse riding..."
She stopped when she saw Miss Ward's sad smile. "Very little," Mrs. Nelson confessed quietly.
Mr. Nelson put his arm around his wife's shoulders. "We do the best we can," he said defiantly.
"I'm afraid that's just not good enough," Miss Ward said, losing her patience. "Your daughter deserves better! Bethany doesn't need expensive toys or iPhones. She needs parents who pay enough attention to know she's outgrown her shoes!"
Mr. Nelson looked very angry. "How dare you!" he said. "Do you know who I am?"
Bethany got brand new shoes. | Source: Pexels
"Yes," Miss Ward said sadly. "You are the father of a lonely little girl."
Mr. Nelson's eyes filled with tears. "I...I love my daughter," he whispered. "We love Bethany...Maybe we've let other things get in the way, but we love our little girl!"
"I have no doubt," the teacher said. "That is why I'm talking to you today. Because I know you want what's best for Bethany -- and that is more time and more of your attention!"
The next day, Bethany came to school in brand new shoes. Even more importantly, it was her mom who picked her up after school, not her babysitter.
Bethany's parents had finally realized that what their daughter needed most wasn't expensive gifts, it was their love and their devotion.
Bethany's parents started spending more time with their daughter. | Source: Unsplash
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