Category Archives: kids

Resting in hope and dependence

I sat on my porch tonight trying to write a concise post about the all the feelings I’ve had about the neighborhood over the last few weeks. As I started and quickly abandoned a handful of posts, all I could do was cry.

Cry for five years of work, play, joy and sorrow all sown into this neighborhood.
Cry for kids growing up.
Cry for the kids who are changing when I had all but given up hope.
Cry for the kids I had all the hope in the world for who are digging in their heels.
Cry for a million other things that I don’t know how to express.
Crying tears of joy and sadness all at the same time.

This summer has been immensely refreshing for me. Being in Glenwood for 5 years now, I have experienced significant seasons of spiritual drought. But this summer, particularly during and after camp, I have come to know a joy and lightheartedness I never thought I’d get back. As hard as things are in Glenwood, the last month in this neighborhood has pure joy, and that’s something I haven’t been able to say for the last few years.

What has made the difference? I’m not 100% sure. Things haven’t significantly changed in Glenwood. All of the same problems are still here. BUT, I feel like I’m looking through a new lens. God has brought significant emotional healing to me recently, which has given me a greater hope for our friends in the neighborhood. He’s also been teaching me to release control to him (in a number of way), because the truth is, he knows what he’s doing and he’ll always speak when necessary. It’s funny how placing our hope and dependence in Christ can shift our outlook so significantly.

By shifting my hope and dependence back to Christ, I am experiencing the rest my spirit so desperately needs…and out of that rest comes joy unspeakable.

3rd Camp Essay

Here’s the next essay in the series. Topic: What do you think the perfect president would be like?

My Essay on The Best Pres.

I think the best president would stop the gas prices from going up, stop the
war, and help the community. Well you havent heard anything yet.
Another thing that I think the best president would be like is they would
fundraise to the poor.

The Best President would make fair laws to all equal
rights. He/She would do more activities for children to stay active.
They would also help the economy/nature. To tell you the truth I really
dont know what the best president would be like, but if I put myself or imagine
me in those footsteps I would know so the best president would let all equal
rights have the freedom to say/speak their minds without having to go to
jail. They would let the people march or stand up for things they believe
in without being punished.

I think the best presidents would be better
than any other job. Im running out of things but I’ll try to keep
going. Well……I also think they would have fair authorities. To
me a best president would protect his/her country, doing what is best for the
people. Im not very good at this but im trying my best. No more
interruptions, carrying on.

Well once again as I was saying the best president
would be more of a role model to little kids. Telling them whats right and
whats wrong. They would make sure that the little kids be happy. The
most important part of a Best pres. is to NEVER TURN AGAINST your country TO
stick with them, hey! maybe even stand up for them. The key to knowing
what the best Pres. is is to know what that person is like. It depends on
how the person is, how they act and how their role modeling skills are. Do
they inspire kids? Do they take care of homeless people? What do you
think? The last thing is I think the best pres. would never leave a child
behind in school or anything. They would help the homeless.

Essays…

The kids essays have started coming in a little more now, and it’s been fascinating to read them. I shared one with you in my last post, when I asked you to guess what grade the writer was in. For the record, he was in 7th grade.

It’s been neat to read the kids’ opinions when it comes to what the perfect president would be like, and you can pick up hints of what each family is going through based on the things that are important to each child. I want to share some more of these with you — I’ll post one at a time over the next few days or so. Feel free to comment if something strikes you, but definitely take time to consider what is heavy on the hearts of this generation.

The Prefect President

Hi my name is ____ _____ _____. I am about to tell you what I think The Prefect President would be.

First I think that the prefect president would be black. I think this because there is no black presidents. It would be the first all black president.

Secondly I think it should be a all black female because it hasn’t been a all black female either.

Next I would want it too be demacrate. I want it to be that because that is may favorite president side.

That is all the thing I would want in a president.

That is not all I want. This is the rest of the things I want too happening when this prefect president is choosing.

First I would want her to stop the war. Then I would want her too make peace with every single place in the world.

After that I would want her too send all The soilder home to be with there family.

Then I would want her to stop immagation.

I would walso want every body to have a job. I would want all the bumb to have somewhere to live with lots of food.

I would want all the bad thing to stop with who every listen to the president. She will be so prefect that she will serve 8 yrs in the Presidents place. So every body will call her the prefect president.

Funny Quote of the Day

First, good news — by the miraculous provision of God, we made $1,200 at the camp fundraising bakesale today! Last year we only made around $200, so this was a huge surprise, Thank you Jesus!

Upon hearing the figure, one of our kids, K, exclaimed

“$1200?? A drug dealer couldn’t even make that in a day!!!”

While that statement may or may not be valid, and sounds kind of funny at first, it speaks volumes to the frame of reference our kids live in.

“We met on the chat line…”

Yesterday I ran into a teen boy that I got to know a little bit last year. T was sitting on a fence, waiting for his shoes to dry (that could be a whole story in itself). Here’s the way our conversation went:

D (me): So, how are things going?

T: Pretty good. I’m getting ready to move to South Carolina.

D: South Carolina? What’s there?

T: I’m going to live with my girlfriend.

D: Oh, ok. Do you have a job lined up yet?

T: Yeah, at Burger King.

(Don’t laugh yet…it gets better)

D: So, when are you moving?

T: At the end of this week.

D: Geez, you really are moving soon! How’d you meet your girlfriend?

T: We met on the chat line. I figured, now that we’ve talked for a while, we might as well meet.

D: Wait a minute…you’ve never met her, and you’re moving in with her?!?! What if she’s, like, 80 years old and 800 pounds or something???

(I know, I’m a little dramatic sometimes)

T just stares, with a surprised expression on his face.

D: You know she could be lying right? That’s pretty crazy to just move in with her when you’ve never met her.

T: Yeah, I guess maybe we’ll just meet this time. I don’t know. (with a smirk) I guess she could be 80 years old.

D: And 800 pounds.

(We both kind of laughed for a second)

D: Well, best of luck to you.

Just another crazy day in the neighborhood…

Rejection

One of our girls, K, is pregnant. 5 months or so, now. About a month ago Suzanne and I took her out to dinner to talk to her about her pregnancy, what her plans were, and to make sure she knew all of her options. Overall, it went very well. We had dinner, then went over to Target to pick up some maternity clothes for her, as she could no longer button her jeans. Later, I went out and picked up one more outfit for her. Everytime we’ve seen her since then, she’s been wearing one outfit or the other, so it was clear that she needed some more clothes. When we were out the first time, we told her that we’d see if we could find some more for her, and she said that sounded fine.

Fast forward to today. A friend of ours bought several outfits for K, and I had picked up another piece or two as well. They’ve been sitting at my house for a week or two. Today we saw K at her grandma’s house, and she didn’t speak to us. At all. I figured that she must’ve just woken up or something — a lot of our kids are pretty grouchy if they’re tired. Later we ran to my house to pick up the bag of clothes to take to her. Suzanne jumped out of the car and took them over to K. To our surprise/dismay/hurt/??? K, with a hardened look on her face, said “I don’t want them. I don’t need them.” And turned away.

I don’t know what happened in the last month. I don’t know why she’s so angry with us, but it’s clear something has happened. I wonder if it’s the “charity” thing, that maybe someone said something to her about it. I don’t know. At this point, I don’t even view it as charity. She’s a friend, a loved one. Whether she needed maternity clothes or not, I still would have wanted to buy her some, just because it’s so exciting.

Anyhow, it didn’t bother me so much at the moment, but the more I think about it, the more it saddens me. In a deep, deep way.

Injustice in the form of a Youth Choir

I recently met a new student at UNCG and was excited to hear that she had hooked up with a church in Glenwood that was starting a youth choir that would be open to neighborhood kids. Shortly after our initial discussion, she recruited volunteers to hand out flyers at InterVarsity. After IV, she asked me if I thought it was safe to go door to door. I assured her that it would be fine, and gave her a few pointers (i.e. avoid stray dogs, etc.). I asked her if they would provide transportation, as many of the parents either don’t have cars or work various shifts, so might not always be able to drop off/pick up their kids.

That’s when she shared something that broke my heart. The pastor had instructed the group of volunteers to go to the “nicer looking” houses in the neighborhood. He went on to justify this by saying that the church doesn’t currently have the resources to help the members of the community that, prompted by their invitation to the kids, would flock to their door in need of assistance. While I understand their concern, I think it’s a poor excuse that is ultimately cheating the kids who need extracurricular activities the most. The church can always refer people to organizations in the community who require referrals, or even just offer a friendly face to hear someone’s story. I can’t judge too harshly — I’m sure the comment emerged from some underlying fear.

It just breaks my heart that a youth choir, with a mission of reaching the kids in the neighborhood, has plans to discriminate against those whose houses don’t look “nice.” I could get off on a whole other discussion about absentee landlords that leave tenants with nasty looking houses, adding yet another layer of injustice to both the families and the kids, but we’ll save that for another day. For now, we’ll just pray that God’s heart for the Glenwood kids will be revealed to this church body in a completely unadulterated fashion.