It is never expected that thesis students reward their adviser with a gift, but when they do, it is always a surprise and a thrill. Today, I was at school solely for my office hour. I don’t have classes on Thursdays in the spring semester.
One of my former students, Luca Szabo, came in to see me bearing presents. In a rather oversized gift bag decorated in gold butterflies, she had placed an open wooden box with carved out heart-shaped handles that she herself had decoupage decorated. Inside were Hungarian treats that she made herself. They were chocolate confections shaped into balls and rolled in chocolate sprinkles. The two I sampled were delirious.
The pièce de résistance was a framed needlework that she had created also. She said she knew one of my favorite quotations is “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”.and without a doubt it is on my top five list of favorite quotes. This one is a Chinese proverb. I immediately hung the needlework on my office wall, so I had to take the picture with my mobile phone, so it is a little crooked. But the needlework is perfect. I made a parphrased version for the Writing Center and laminated it. “Give a student the answers and you have helped them survive a day. Teach them to find the answers on their own and you have given them tools for a lifetime.”
Getting gifts is always a treat, but having the student make them themselves is something extraordinarily special, which I will never forget.