one among many
among the desks.
His young body
hunched and hard
thoughts turned in.
to put away folders
was a threat.
A sweet soul
damaged and hurt
now a minefield.
I don’t know his story. I don’t know where he is now. I don’t even remember his name.
Yet I will always remember him.
While living outside of New Orleans (just prior to Katrina), I worked as a public school substitute teacher. It was normal to have a “new kid” in one of my “regular” classes. On this particular morning, one of the teachers told me that if I have issues with this particular new boy, then he can spend the day in her class.
All I was told in the few seconds available was that he had been there only a few days, was highly reactive, and had even driven a pencil into his palm.
At first he didn’t look any different from the other kids, but that quickly changed once we got started.
Looking into his eyes, I was afraid.
I had never been that afraid of anyone before.
That look seethed anger, a gateway into a darkness I cannot imagine.
He ended up spending the day with the teacher across the hall, as I knew that it already took everything I had to keep the class going – let alone “manage” this boy.
I made a choice that worked for that day. Yet this band-aid was probably just one more rejection in his life.
I can’t imagine where he is now – if he is still with us. He is an older teenager now, in a system where even if everything works correctly – he has a minimal chance of graduating from High School, and a good chance of going to prison.
While he might be an extreme – he is also a dire warning.
How many times do we put a band-aid on someone’s life because it is more convenient for us? Because that is the way the system works?
How many times do we ignore the darkness in a child’s life, pretending it really isn’t darkness?
Lord, help us to keep our hearts aimed towards you as we keep our eyes open to the lives of the children and youth around us. Amen.
People reaching out:
Youth of a Nation….Bent not Broke (blog for teens – we HAVE TO reach out to others)
Adventures in Motherhood (blog – a great example of how when we support others, we need support ourselves)