Soon Tommy's parents, who had recently separated, would
arrive for a conference on his failing schoolwork and
disruptive behavior. Neither parent knew that I had summoned
Tommy, an only child, had always been happy,
cooperative, and an excellent student. How could I convince
his father and mother that his recent failing grades
represented a brokenhearted child's reaction to his adored
parents' separation and pending divorce?
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 covered 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 without a word handed it to her
husband. He frowned. Then his face softened. He studied the
scrawled words for what seemed an eternity.
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
neither 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
"Dear Mother . . . Dear Daddy . . . I love you . . . I love you . . . I