A fellow I know once sent me virtual chocolates via email on Valentines Day. Quite unsatisfying—images of luscious dark truffles on a computer screen. I replied, “What kind of guy gives fake chocolate?” A few days later there was a box of honest-to-goodness chocolates in my real mailbox; I enjoyed every bite.
My patience, thin and fraying, gave way with a not-so-gentle snap. My hands steered the misplaced, unfocused student back to her desk while my brain frantically tried to manage the multiple tasks occupying its own scattered focus. Distraction soon led my gaze back to the wayward second grader. Her head was bent over her desk, and her back shook with silent sobs. I left the papers I had been trying to grade and came to her side.
“What’s wrong, Lisa?”