Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Meltdown

I knew it was coming.
A 13 year old boy whose family was torn apart.
A 13 year old boy who apparently has not had a decent adult male role model for much of his life.
A 13 year old boy who saw everything he ever knew wash away and in the swirl of that tide he was eventually carried by buses and pickup trucks to a new city, a new school, a new home, a new church and a new life.
A 13 year old boy who has tried very hard to act like nothing can harm him, like he doesn't care about anything or anyone.
A 13 year old boy who has done everything possible to avoid looking like a vulnerable, wounded, lost...13 year old boy.

I've been so proud. His grades aren't good, but he's taken it upon himself to find tutors. He didn't have any friends, but he's been aggressive in meeting kids in the neighborhood. He has tried very hard and shouldered many a burden that no one should ask of a 13 year old boy.

He's far from perfect. His behavior can be maddening at times. He's 13.

He has set goals and this week he thought he had achieved one...but he was mistaken. A teacher counted a grade against him which he thought was unfair. It resulted in him not passing one course, which kept him from going with the band to football games. He got angry...real angry.

He cried and fumed and stomped around. He raged at teachers and life and perhaps even God.

Finally! Thank you God...finally!

When I saw him after school yesterday, he first mentioned a horn he'd been eying on Ebay and I mentioned the sky high mound of pizza rolls he was eating. Then he mentioned what was really on his mind, the only thing on his mind...the thought that had dominated him all day... festering and feasting on his delicate self image. He told me how "Mr. So and So failed me because of one stinkin' grade that should have counted in the last grading period not this one!"

I acted like I didn't already know. That I wasn't aware about the crying and fuming and stomping and rage earlier in the day that prompted a call from a school counselor to his Mom.

I told him I was very proud of how much he's been able to do and how well he's doing in other classes. I told him I knew he'd do better in that one class.

He said a few more things about that teacher.

I mentioned we were going to church and he told me he didn't want to come along. I said I wanted him to - that we were going as a family.

He said okay.

I was once a 14 year old boy who lost a great deal and was tugged and tumbled into a completely unfamiliar world. I raged and fumed inside for a very very long time.

Oh Father...I don't believe there has been a time in my life for which You have better prepared me. I pray I do right by You...and by this 13 year old boy.