Saturday, May 30, 2015

176 days in

The school year is like the baseball season - it seemingly goes on forever. And also like baseball, the significance of any one day or game really seems fairly meaningless. It's in the day to day routine of working on the skills or standards as we call them, the patient but confident building of abilities and molding of character that things happen. As a teacher now for a while and a pastor for much longer, I've learned the routines and accepted them.

When a batter is in a slump, one of the first things he does is to go back and watch film of when he was in the groove. If it's a really bad slump, he might even reach out to an old coach. I've read of stars who were struggling calling in high school coaches.

When a teacher can't reach a student, they do check to see if they are teaching the fundamentals well. They examine their interactions with the child, and talk with others who interact as well. They try other approaches. They seek to find a motivating tool to use to get the student to perform in a way that will help them grow.

176 days in, after doing all of that and much more, after being at the point of frustration many many times, I think it happened.

I was hugged by a nine year old boy.

He's so very bright. I have never had a child who has asked so many questions that were worthy of adult conversations. Of course most all of those occurred when we were discussing something else, but...

Yet he is always on his own path, that only occasionally coincides with what all the adults who want desperately to see him grow have planned.

But Friday, after a typical day of trying to encourage him to persevere in doing his best and finding him doing far less, we had a conversation. Nothing unusual on my side - another try at getting him to see that if he'd set his sights on a goal and work hard until he got there, all the adults who care so much about him would not only rejoice in a way the heavens would hear, but he would find that all the structures we've constructed to keep him in line would fall away, like training wheels taken off a bicycle do once the skills are mastered.

He listened and went back to work.

Then right before he left, he came up to my side and gave me a hug before he left.

176 days in.


It made me wonder... "Lord Jesus, how in the world do you put up with us?"

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