Love and forgiveness, and don’t hold it against them

Sometimes the hardest thing you can do for someone is show them a little love and forgiveness.

It is a challenge sometimes and I run into it a bit more frequently than I’d like.

I’m a teacher – middle school. I live in the attendance zone for the school where I teach, so I frequently see kids who attend the school in the neighborhood. Heck, I teach the girl who lives across the street.

By the same token, I’m the divorced father of 3 girls. They attend a different school but when they’re at my house, they hang out with the entire neighborhood.

Love and Forgiveness

There is a young man who lives in the neighborhood. At school, he’s gotten into quite a bit of trouble, some of it fairly serious. He’s not a bad kid but he definitely has stuff to deal with and work through.

His sister started hanging out with my daughters and it was just a matter of time before he started coming around.

I had a decision to make on the spot. Do I make him stay away, punishing him in the neighborhood for his behavior at school?

The temptation was there. I’d have been justified but in the end, love and forgiveness won out. I’ve even let him have a popsicle out of my freezer!

The thing is, maybe he needs a break. Maybe he needs some friends who engage with each other positively.

Maybe he needs love and forgiveness.

Don’t get me wrong. The law has been set and laid down, but for now, it is all good, and will be as long as a few rules are followed.

Unforgiven

I can hold a grudge with the best of them.

That deep-seeded anger serves no real purpose in my life, and it certainly does little, if any, good. But the simple fact is there are folks out there who, if I encountered them, I’m likely to swing first.

Not exactly healthy.

I don’t wear it on my sleeve, but my faith wants me to be more forgiving. I try hard when it comes to kids. More than once, I’ve thought, “That so-n-so will never set foot on my property again.” Never mind the fact that the so-n-so was maybe 10 or 11 years old.

Lesson from teaching

One thing I’ve learned is this. A lot of kids have a lot of crap going on in their lives. There’s mild neglect. Serious neglect. Abuse. I’ve taught children who were literally, honest-to-God homeless.

How the hell do you learn when you aren’t sure where you’ll sleep tonight?

Hunger.

I taught a kid who, as a senior in high school, had a full-time factory job to help support his family.

Heck, you’ve got kids with stable parents who are struggling for a variety of reasons.

And there’s this. If roles were reversed, I’d want someone to treat my children with kindness.

So yea. I’ll show some grace. Throw in a little love and forgiveness. I’ll show a little kindness and hopefully my daughters will learn from it.

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