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upworthy
Education

Teachers share their sweetest gifts from students and it's a moving lesson in generosity

The most thoughtful gifts often cost nothing at all.

a purple crayon in a white gift box

A simple purple crayon can mean more than any expensive gift.

Generosity comes in many forms, but the most beautiful gifts come straight from the heart, no matter how much they cost. And when a heartfelt gift comes from a child? That's a pure form of giving that's hard to match.

A former teacher shared a story of the most memorable gift a student had ever given her, and it prompted a flood of teachers sharing similar stories that show the meaning of true generosity.

Heather Babin Benoit shared a photo of a small white gift box with a purple crayon inside it with the following story:


"Nine years ago, a student of mine saw other kids giving me presents and he had nothing to give. He took a box from a present he was given and his purple crayon from his pouch and wrapped it. He walked up to me and said, 'I hope you love it, it is your favorite color.' I still get tears in my eyes when I open this box.

Purple is my favorite color. He knew that. He paid attention to what I said. He didn’t have much to give in his eyes but he gave me so much more than a purple crayon. He gave me love. He gave me his heart. He gave me a kind gesture.

Nine years ago, it was my last Christmas as a classroom teacher. I received many gifts in this lifetime, but this present will always be a gentle reminder that it is always the thought that counts."

The comments on Upworthy's share of the story on Instagram were filled with teachers sharing similarly meaningful gifts their students had given them over the years. (Fair warning: If the purple crayon didn't already have you grabbing a tissue, you might want to grab one now.)

"A student once got me a dryer sheet. He had a troubled home life and didn’t have a lot of money, but he brought me a dryer sheet for Christmas because 'It’s my favorite smell, and I wanted you to have one to smell too!' It’s been 8 years, and I still have that dryer sheet. ❤️" – @roxanneamarques

"I had little boy in my Kindergarten classroom who brought me a mostly used bottle of old perfume. He said I’m sorry it’s all I had. I assured him I loved it and he said. “It was my Mom’s favorite perfume and you remind me of her.” His Mom had died the year before. The most selfless and heartfelt gift I have ever received." – @carol_j_becker

"This reminds of a student I had when I taught 1st grade, his family didn’t have money for store bought valentines so he hand wrote valentines on loose leaf paper with pencil to every student in the class. Kids understand the true meaning of giving." – @heatherbee721

"Years ago a student gave me a tiny piece of paper with just a curved line on it. It was our last day working together and he told me it was a smile. I still have that little smile in my office. 🥰" – @orangegrad

"Years ago when I taught pre-k, a child gave me a packet of ketchup for Christmas so he’d have something to give me. His mom worked at a burger place and he spent his afternoons and evenings there sitting in a booth because she had no child care. 😢❤️" – @awcarlsson

"One year one of my first graders gave me 2 extra long Slim Jim beef sticks that I believe were intended for her own snack. Keep in mind I am a vegetarian. 2 hours into our day she came up to me and said Ms. Hagan, I’m really hungry and think I need to eat one of those Slim Jims I said absolutely. Then an hour later she came back and whispered, I’m starving and I need to eat that other Slim Jim. Best present ever and best story. 😂😍" – @lu.hagan

"My daughter was teaching at a school where many students didn’t have money for gifts or great home situations. A little girl who received free breakfast took all the marshmallows from her cereal box and put them in the bag the plastic silverware came in to give my daughter her teacher as her Christmas gift. I could still cry thinking about how much her little heart wanted to just give a gift to her teacher." – @stacykib

Other commenters shared how much the story meant to them.

"I really hope that kid sees this someday and then he'll know how many people smiled because of his beautiful purple crayon," wrote one person.

"You cannot compete with the pure innocence of a child, that’s why their energy must be protected," shared another.

"I'm not sure which is more beautiful. That the student gave the sentimental gesture, or that the teacher recognized the sentiment in the gesture. Both are making me cry," shared another.

Indeed, giving a gift from the heart is one thing; recognizing the value of such a gift is another. May we all be thoughtful givers and receivers, especially with the children in our lives.

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