Kids can bring so many emotions. There is a blessing that comes from each of them. Today, I missed the chance to find the blessing. Not with my kids, but with those others. The ones that come into my classroom each day. The ones that have a life that I have never experienced and one that I pray they didn't have. Sometimes it is so easy for me to focus on my class that I forget that "my kids" are often damaged. Hurting. Lost. Because we live in a broken world where kids go hungry and are forgotten. And I mean really forgotten in this life. People that work with children get this. They see it every day. It can hurt us as much as the kids we are with. Sometimes more because we feel almost helpless to change anything. Somewhere in this day I forgot that I am dealing with those kids. Most of them broken. Until something happens. Like today. I am not talking about my kids, but "my kids". The ones at school. The ones I love more than I could have ever thought when I started my year teaching. I don't just have four kids - I have 604 kids or so. Every kid that walks into my classroom is mine. Undeniably mine. And there are some that break my heart.
Today, I forgot about the broken world we live in. The one where mom walks out the door without looking back and leaves those little ones with a hole in their soul. Forever. Where that dad is barely able to function because he is an alcoholic. And the weight of the world falls on the shoulders of a 12 year old boy who just doesn't know what to do with himself. And there is me, in the midst of this mess. I know his story - and that he shares it with 4 siblings that are also "my kids" - and I forgot. I didn't choose to look at his hurt and only responded to his actions. And now, I regret my reaction. I can't even begin to fathom how life feels to him.
Does that excuse his behavior? No. But in the middle of teaching him in my class, I need to acknowledge the greater lessons he needs. That there are adults that love and care about kids. That I am one of those adults. There is a sense deep inside me that I have failed this one. Missed it. Failed to see the big picture. Failed to walk in the love of Christ and show this boy that he matters. Really matters. And that out there is a Father that loves totally and completely. That won't leave, forget, hurt him. What if the only chance this boy gets to find this is through me? How have I done today? Not well. Totally missed the mark.
Not that there won't be a time to try again, but this year, it closes. And then he is gone. And so is my chance. My chance to shine a light into his world - our world. Because just maybe I was supposed to be that one. His one that cared. How can I miss it like that? I am human, and just as broken and fallen as the rest of the world. But Jesus. But Jesus. I am to be HIS hands and feet. We all are. And it all starts with looking beyond. Shining that light into the darkness - whether that means a sassy pre-teen boy or a grumpy person in the check-out line - we need to shine.
I am going to do my best to not miss another chance to choose. To love. Maybe even yet this year I will get the chance to repair a relationship and speak light to this boy. Maybe. My hope is that we can all shine a bit. Please, be a light. Look behind. See more. Make a choice. Because, honestly, missing it feels pretty bad - even if the kid is mad at me. And I mean mad. Mad enough to dump hand sanitizer all over my chair and desk. He is hurting. And after I got over the shock of it all, we he needs most is love. And that is what it all comes down to. Love. Whether I am at home with my kids or with "my kids", it is about love. I pray that I might be given another chance to speak into the life of this young man. And that this time - this time - I won't miss it. I won't just react to a sassy mouth and attitude. That I will be able to choose to love. To be the light in the darkness. I hope you will join me.