They are just like any other middle school kid ~ Searching for themselves ~ Defining who they are ~ Learning about limits, boundaries and crossroads. Except these kids are puzzling, severely at-risk, have criminal records and juvenile caseloads and define dysfunction.
I stay up at night - strategizing and researching techniques to deal with their behavior, defiance, lack of empathy - "I don't care" attitude. I am looking for ways to encourage my teachers and find classroom supports to re-mediate and engage each learner.
My questions seem endless: How do we provide stability, fill in the gaps in their education, improve their character, provide community supports - and ensure their success? Is it feasible or realistic?
I don't know.
I do know that like myself, these kids are a "Work In Progress". We may not be able to reach all of them in the short time they are with us, but we can plant seeds of hope, inspiration, change, self-love, community, and progress. I will love them till it hurts - and some days it does.
I am thankful and reminded, that even in my dysfunction - God's love shines through.
Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! - 1 John 3:1
I'm hopeful, that my students will fight through the mess, anger, obstacles and strongholds that are currently a burden for them. I pray that they will heal - grow - and BLOOM!