My child's teacher surprised me yesterday. When Chaim didn't show up for school a couple of days in a row, he called the house to ask if my son was sick. I told him that no, he wasn't sick, and yes, he had been going to sleep on time and yet still didn't seem to have the energy to get up in the morning and get out of bed to come to school. I asked him what ideas he could suggest, that maybe I hadn't tried yet, to coax him out of bed.

He sensed that my son needed some extra attention Although he doesn't know the real reason for this behavior - that my husband and I are in the midst of breaking up - he did sense that my son Chaim needed extra attention. His answer was a big surpise to me - "Well, if he doesn't come to school again tomorrow, may I come to your house to talk to him?"

I told Chaim that his teacher had called and we had talked. I told him that the teacher said that he must come to school, that it was important to keep up with the class and stay within a framework. Chaim answered: "Yeah, all the teachers say that."

Then I told him that his teacher said he may come to the house. Chaim raised his eyebrows and said: "That's something not all of them say!"

Sure enough, the next morning, yet again Chaim "just coudn't get out of bed" when I woke him, bright and early. I was beyond getting angry, beyond punishment, beyond promising him prizes, beyond encouragement, beyond it all. Words simply failed me. Then I heard a faint knock at the door. True to his word, Chaim's teacher stood there, asking if he could come inside.

He asked where Chaim was. I told him: "He's still in bed." He asked, ever so sweetly - "May I go to his room?"

I went to Chaim and said, "Your teacher is here." "Really?!" Chaim answered, disbelieving. I asked him if his teacher may come into his room and Chaim nodded his head.

A small, quiet gesture can really stand out They talked a little and then his teacher came back into the living room. He said he was waiting for Chaim to get dressed and he himself would take him to school that day. Then the unbelievable happened - Chaim got out of bed, got dressed, brushed his teeth (I didn't even have to remind him!) and he was all set in ten minutes flat.

Chaim, a sensitive child, asks me why his father and I can't seem to get along. How come we can't "make up" just like I expect from him with his siblings and friends? If we get divorced, what will his life will be like? These are hard questions that I don't have answers for. It's hard for him to be without a father at home to do all the usual, expected "father and son" things. I can't replace his father, nor do I want to.

When big problems loom that have no real solutions and life just seems too hard to bear, a friend can feel at a loss as to how they can help. At times like these, a small, quiet gesture can really stand out and make a big difference.

The next morning, Chaim fairly bounced out of bed to greet the new day, as well as the teacher who knew how to go the extra mile to give some badly needed attention.