There is a boy in my class named K. He is sort of small and skinny for his age–blond hair–blue eyes–blurts out–ball of energy. Over the course of the year, I’ve had to sit on him a time or two. He’s been excessively absent. He has hinted that something is wrong with his mother–she’s “in that hospital” a lot–but I didn’t know for sure why.
Today I fussed at him for blurting out. I could tell that it really bothered him. After class I spoke to him. I told him that I know his mom is gone a lot and that he probably has to take care of many things each day. Then I asked if he could share with me what is wrong with him mom.
She has breast cancer. She has to stay in the hospital a lot. Each day that she’s not home, K. has to get his 6 year old brother off the bus, get him settled on the couch with a video, then do the dishes and get things ready for dinner. If step-dad doesn’t make it home in time, K. cooks as well.
I gave him a hug and a Koosh ball to take home so he and his brother would have something different to do this afternoon. I told him I’d try to be more patient, and I asked that he try to be less bouncy. He thanked me and ran off to his bus.
Then I closed the door, sat in the nearest desk I could find, and I prayed. “God, let it be enough. Let the little that I give each day be enough to make the difference for K.” Today K. broke my heart. Today God broke my heart.
I cannot save each child that comes into my classroom. I cannot know each of their stories. I cannot excuse poor judgement, bad decisions, or innappropriate behavior even if I DO know all of their stories. And I, alone, can never be enough. So I ask God to take up the slack–to bridge the gap–to be enough for all of them.
I ask you to help by praying for the children you don’t know. The ones who haven’t gotten to be kids. The burden they bear will “help them mature.” It will engender an “appreciation of things” in them.
But it is not fun.
And it is not fair.
And it is a heavy, heavy load to carry.
So pray for them–and pray for all of us who are with them everyday to have patience and wisdom and discernment to know when to give criticism, when to give consequences, and when to give a Koosh ball.