There are so many times when I feel like we just don’t have the answer. I feel like we are up against too much. I feel like circumstances are too difficult to overcome. Like we pour in and we pour in and we pour in...and we see the same result. I call the teacher and tell him I need to see this student and the reply is, “Again?” What else is there to say? Sometimes I wonder if we are winning or losing. Sometimes I wonder if it is making a difference.
Raising children is a hard fruit to determine. I keep telling myself that as a parent and as an educator. I used to tell my players that I would know how successful I was as a coach about twenty years after they were gone when I got to see what kind of father they were, what kind of husband, what kind of employee, and what kind of citizen. Those things would tell the tale.
As it stands now, there is just another frustrating student with another frustrating life. And we fight that battle every day. Why? Hope. We see something in him that tells us that he can overcome. He is capable of more. He has the skills to be something more. And that is what we desire. I think if we could look into a crystal ball and see the success on the other side, we would be inspired to keep on in spite of the difficulty. But instead, we hang on in faith. The potential is there. That keeps us moving.
When he is outside, there isn’t much we can do to determine his future. Outside isn’t the place for him. Inside is where we make a difference. When we close the doors on his world and bring him into ours. Our hope? That he will see something different inside. Something way different. Something that makes him desire more of what’s inside. Yes, ultimately we want him to realize that inside is way better than the world he sees on the outside.
The Bible tells a story of God asking Noah to build an ark to deliver himself from the flood that was to come. In Genesis 6:14, He asked Noah to cover it with “pitch” inside and out. The Hebrew word for pitch (kaphar) is the same word translated “atonement” in the Old Testament.
The pitch was a covering for Noah and his family. It was symbolic. When they went inside, God closed the doors and they were covered. Protected. It assured them of their safety inside the ark. Just as “in Christ” we are covered, atoned for. Protected by the blood of Jesus. Covered inside and out.
And, for me, that is why I keep on every day. That is why I don’t quit. That is why I put my arm around him after I scold him. And why I spend my time eating with him after I give him lunch detention. That is why I kick him off the bus and then pick him up for school on my time and in my truck.
I want to show him the inside, because I know the inside is better. It’s not easy. It’s definitely not perfect. The water beats on the boat and turns it all sorts of directions. You even get sea sick sometimes.
But on the inside, we are covered. For him, he is covered. His world is atoned for. He is protected. He is delivered. And as long as we can close the door on the outside, there is hope that he will see the inside is better. And that is what he will choose. For the rest of his days.