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A Mother’s Day miracle

She was washing dishes on the night she heard the news. It broke her heart, and it would take a miracle to fix it.

Her family had just finished dinner. After working all day as a drug clerk in a small, local pharmacy, she had hurried home, as she did every day, to prepare dinner for her family, which included her husband, three sons, and one daughter. Now she was cleaning up.

Just as she was finishing, her oldest son came in the kitchen. He lingered nervously for a moment, and then he told her. He was not going to go to the high school’s graduation that week. Although he was a senior, he wasn’t going to graduate. Stunned, she sat down at the kitchen table and asked why? The answer brought her to tears.

Of all her children, this son had caused her the most grief. By the time he was ready for high school, they sent him away to a religious boarding school. Being “out of sympathy with the ideals of the institution,” he was back home in 2 1/2 months.

They then enrolled the obstreperous 14-year-old in their hometown high school and hoped for the best, but it was all to no avail. He didn’t do his homework, refused to complete assignments, and consistently drew the ire of his teachers over his classroom antics. Then in his junior year, something happened. Overnight his grades soared. Whereas he had been getting D’s and F’s, now miraculously he was bringing home A’s and B’s. With every reporting period it was the same thing. If this kept up he would find himself on the honor roll. Finally, her prayers for this rogue son of hers were answered.

For two years, the wayward son continued his academic restoration and by May 1958, the family began to prepare for his graduation. Cards of congratulations came in and occasionally a graduation gift. Then suddenly it was time for Baccalaureate and for the moment of truth. The son knew it had all been a lie; he knew he wasn’t going to graduate.

He had concocted his scam in the first grading period of his junior year. The official system called for him to take his report card home, have a parent sign it and return it. Instead, he reported to the office that he had lost his report card. They gave him a new card — blank — and he put his own grades on it. This card he took home, showed it to his mother who signed it, and then he hid it until the next grading period. Thus his parents never saw the real report card. Instead he took that one to a friend who signed his mother’s name to the document. The next day he turned it in to the school to await the next grading period. And so it went all year long — not only in his junior year but throughout his senior year as well. So every grading period he returned the real report card with the phony signature to the school. Likewise, he gave his mother the phony report card with the fake grades.

The heartbroken mother turned to the school for help, but the only advice they could give her was to let her son join the military. “He is just not going to make it in school,” opined the vice principal. So that’s what happened. Her son joined the Air Force. He left home, but he could not escape the scene of his mother sobbing at the sink.

Throughout his term in the Air Force, and for the next four years thereafter, that moment haunted him. At the same time, there grew in him an unquenchable thirst. He wanted his mother to see him march down the aisle in a cap and gown in a graduation ceremony. That’s what took him to the admittance office of a small liberal arts college operated by his church.

When he applied for admission, they looked at him in disbelief. “Son,” one of them said, “I’ve seen some stormy academic records in my time, but you had a hurricane down there in St. Petersburg.”

The son responded by begging to be given a chance, and in a miracle of rare academic forgiveness, he was admitted strictly on probation. One of the first things he did was to call his mother to tell her that he was going to attend college. If the school officials were dubious, she was incredulous. She promised him that if he graduated from college she would fly from her home in Florida to see him march in California.

At the time she made that promise, she had no idea where she would get the money for the plane tickets, and she knew her son didn’t have the money. She knew, however, that God could provide; that’s why she started saving her dimes. By the time her son made it through college, she reasoned she would have enough money to make the trip.

It took the son an extra year to finish college. He had to be taught to read. He had to be taught to write. He had to take “bone-head” math. His professors took pity on him and gave him one-on-one tutorials in using the resources of the library. All the while that image of his mother sobbing at the sink pushed him forward. Finally, the day arrived. It was June 1972 — graduation time.

As he marched down the aisle, sitting beside his wife and children was his mother, tears streaming down her face. For five years she saved her dimes to pay for the plane fare to see her son graduate. God had been faithful. He had changed lives, provided the plan, and blessed every dime that He gave my mother. I hope some of my students read this miracle.


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