Roberto* entered my classroom with a reputation that preceded him. Others told me what a "handful" this child is and some of his bad habits and stories from his previous school. As the anxiety rose in my chest for what this year might hold, I saw a quote that changed my heart: "Every child is just one caring adult away from being a success story." I made it my goal to lavish love and grace and mercy on this child the first week of school and see how he responded.
I was amazed to see such a sweet little boy come into the classroom that day. Even when he struggled with learning our expectations in the classroom, he responded well to the calm redirection that I gave him. I wondered what could have possibly happened in his life that gave him this harsh reputation before he came to my class. I didn't have to wait long to find out.
As he shared his "All About Me" poster with the rest of the students, I noticed one thing missing from his family portrait. "Does your dad live with you too? Or does he have another home?" I asked. "He left me, and I don't even know why," Roberto said softly. I responded, "Oh my goodness, I know that must have been so hard for you to deal with. I'm so sorry to hear that." But Roberto looked at me, smiled big, and said, "Yeah, but I'm still praying that he will come back."
I was so overwhelmed by this child's faith and strength to make it through such a traumatic circumstance and to continue praying for the Lord to bring back his father. May we all have faith like this child.
*Name changed for privacy.