I pulled it out for the garage sale, thinking that I could make a few bucks if I sold it. After all, it is a Jansport, they last forever. Then I remembered one of my students, who has been carrying his books to school in a rolling suitcase. Granted, it is a small one, but still inconvenient and not at all as functional as a backpack. I decided to take my backpack to school for him. I, after all, don't need it.
When I called him over to my desk at the beginning of the day to give him the backpack he seemed subdued. What was I expecting? Fireworks? A parade in my honor because of my amazing demonstration of gratitude and personal sacrifice? Maybe. But instead I got a smile, a thank you and it was done. I looked at him as he walked out of class that day, backpack on his back, superhero suitcase in his hand, and hoped that if nothing else he will one day pay it forward.
The next day when I was out in the hallway taking down student work, I saw my now former backpack hanging on his hook. I smiled to myself and wondered what kind of treasures he had filled it with. I unzipped the outside pocket to find his take home reading book, and inside he had his folder and homework. I guess what else would a 2nd grader need to haul in his backpack?