Micah often talks about how he doesn’t like school. It breaks my heart. As a veteran teacher, I know that there is more to the story, but he is only three. His parents and I are taking his concerns seriously as we make a holistic assessment of the situation.
Play with his peers is one topic that comes up a lot when Micah is with me. He complains that the other children call him a monster. He reports that his reply is, “I am not a monster, I am a boy.” Something has penetrated deeply here, because I heard him repeat this to unfamiliar children at the museum when he wanted to share their crawlspace. He mentioned it again yesterday while we ate a leisurely lunch. It bothers him on a deep level, and so it bothers me.
Micah will be alright. He has a loving and attentive family. We are working with the teachers. We have options and we can move him to another preschool if things do not improve. By society’s standards, any one can see that he isn’t a monster. But my tender heart leans towards him, and towards all who suffer at the hands of others who dismiss our humanity.
On Tuesday, my dear friend and I had an encounter with a young beggar on the street. Born with severe deformities and nearly no legs, Jake is wheelchair bound, no taller than three feet. He is, at the young age of 20, an orphan. So starved was he for attention and kindness, that when I asked him to tell me his story, a long and steady torrent of words flowed out, continuing with no pause or punctuation for as long as we could remain. It isn’t clear how he survives, or to whom he belongs, apart from God. What touched me most deeply was his own sense of determination to live with dignity. As I listened with my heart, I heard Jake say, “I am not a monster; I am a boy.”
Yes, a boy. But more than a boy. A beloved son of the Father. And someday, that understanding will make all the difference in the world. John 8:31-32.