11 Aug 2014

Little Lights 2014 Reflection: Jason

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“But I didn’t do nothin’!”

This was the phrase of the week at Little Lights. The kids would always deny every accusation thrown at them without a second thought – in their minds, they never did anything wrong. Having a strong will is necessary for survival in a place like Potomac Gardens, but everybody always being right made issues of confrontation turn ugly, fast.

One of the activities that the middle-school kids could do at Summer Lights was step dancing. A particular girl had difficulty learning some moves, and, feeling upset, she just completely shut down and refused to do the moves correctly. Some of the other kids started laughing at her half-hearted efforts. It was her last straw and she ran out of the room crying.

The love that God shows us, just as we show to the kids, is not always the material comfort that we want, but the discipline that we need.

I went out the room to try to comfort her, (I had to do something!) but I had no idea how to deal with this kind of situation. Lucky for me, Mr. Isaac  (staff) came to the rescue. He sat down with her and gently asked her what was going on. Without hesitation, the kids’ favorite phrase came out: “I didn’t do nothin’!” But clearly something had happened, and Mr. Isaac got to the bottom of the situation.

What he did surprised me. Whereas I would’ve comforted her and told her it would be ok, he did not.  Instead he taught both of us a lesson that day. He showed her that the other kids felt the same way when she laughed at them. This didn’t make her particularly happy, and while she continued to sit and sulk, Mr. Isaac let her marinate on what he had said.

That day, I learned of the staff’s love for the kids. The love that they showed wasn’t necessarily the kind of love that I was used to seeing, but it was a love that included discipline.

Instead of just addressing the surface condition, they tried to get to the root of the problem as much as possible. They allowed for the kids to be unhappy for a little bit so that they could learn the right way to do things. Watching Mr. Isaac’s discipline taught me about God’s love for us too. When God corrects bad habits it can be painful, but in the long run, it is what’s best for us.

To us, the children may be unruly, and it seems obviously false when they say that they didn’t do anything. In God’s eyes, we are the same way. Our favorite phrase to say to God is “I didn’t do nothing!” The love that God shows us, just as we show to the kids, is not always the material comfort that we want, but the discipline that we need.

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