A lesson in generosity from an ESL client

Last Updated on September 23, 2010 by Estrella

I’ve met many generous people in my career teaching ESL(English as a second language) to individuals from around the world.  One woman stands out in my mind.  To protect her privacy, I’ll call her Rose.

Rose left her home as a refugee during war time.  She’s lived through hardships most people in the U.S. cannot relate to.  One of her dreams was to buy a piece of land for her retirement back home, now that the country is peaceful again.  On her first vacation back home, she did just that–bought herself a piece of land with a stream running through it.

Her friends in the village came to her and said, “Rose, we want to build a school.  Can you help us?”  Her immediate response was, “Use my land.”  So typical of her.  Now there is a school on the land she bought for her retirement.

Now I want to fill you in on her employment.  She works as an electronic assembler, so to save the money to purchase land requires serious effort.  Her immediate impulse to share what’s hers shows you the kind of generous soul that she is.

Recently, I paid her a visit.  While we were chatting, the 20-year-old son of a distant relative walked by.  Rose explained to me that his mother recently remarried, and the new husband does not like the son, so he no longer lives at home.  Rose asked where he is living now.  “In my car,” he replied.

“Where do you take showers?”

“When I visit your son here.”

After he left the room, Rose’s son came in.  She asked her son, “Can N. stay in your room?”

“That’s fine,” Rose’s son replied.

“Tell N. he can stay as long as he wants, until he can be on his own.  He can help with the utilities, maybe pay $100 or $150 a month.”  Then Rose turned to me and asked, “Do you think I should have discussed this with my husband first?”

The question was both humorous to me and affirms the kind soul that she is.  Whenever she has a chance to make someone’s life better, she does not have to think.  It’s instinct.

A long time ago, I know that my ESL students and clients are not the only ones who benefit from our time together.  I have become a better person because of my time with them.  Now who is the teacher?

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