A Rough Start, But God Is Faithful
The second week the after school program was up and running, I was so excited for my family to be able to join me, even if just for a couple of days. Hannah would be in the class with the older age-group (where I am most of the time), and Elijah and Sender would be in the youngest group (kindergarten – 1st grade), whereas Joanna mostly served in the middle (2nd and 3rd graders).
We all go there early. While Joanna and I set up and planned, our kids explored the building and played.
At 3:15, kids from Fairfax Elementary started arriving. By 3:30, Elijah came to me on the verge of tears.
I had a feeling that it would be a little overwhelming for him, but this was worse than I expected. We didn’t even have half the kids that would be there, so it was bound to get crazier. I pulled him aside near my office to talk, and asked him what it was that was bothering him.
Ever the precise thinker, he said, “It is two things. There are a lot of kids, and I look different than all of them.” He knew that he stood out, and that made him feel alone.
(Later on, I found out that a couple of kids had been specifically unkind to him, like by grabbing his books from him while he was trying to homework. Being a diligent student, I bet this pushed him over the emotional-edge. Now, compare that to his sister — if someone grabbed her school books so she couldn’t work, she’d be pretty happy about it, I think. It would give her an excuse to stare out the window and daydream, as she usually wants to do during school time.)
I pulled Elijah into my office to talk with him. He did not want to go back to his class, but I asked what he would do if someone else was in his shoes. He said that he would try to be that child’s friend. So I explained that if he didn’t go back in the room, he wouldn’t be giving another boy a chance to be his friend. In fact, he would be robbing some other boy the opportunity for God to use the child to show kind to Elijah.
We walked back to class together, and it “just so happened” (praise to God!) that I hooked Elijah up with a boy (we’ll call him KA) who was eager to be his friend. This 1st grade boy sat next to Elijah, coloring, while my son finished his homework.
Later, Elijah told me that whenever he started to feel upset, he would look at KA and it made him feel better.
Even more, KA colored pictures and brought Elijah a new pencil later in the week. Elijah and the family were back in Greenville by this point, so I had to deliver them over the weekend. Elijah was thrilled, and encouraged. And he wrote a thank you note, made a paper airplane, and gave up a silly band, which I delivered back to KA the next week.
Yes, it was a rough start, but God was good to show Himself, and is working to provide community (whether KA for Elijah, or Pastor Mole for me) for our family here in Allendale.
- Representing God
- Elijah Is Thriving
- Reason #30 Allendale Is Better Than Where You Live: Love and Acceptance
- “How Are Your Kids Doing These Days?” (October 2013)
- A Mission for Our Family
- Great Un-Expectations
- Don’t Try to Have It All Together