They boarded the 65 foot boat and cast out to sea while the excited kids saw blue whales, the largest living mammals to ever exist and sea lions.
They tested water levels at the mouth of the sanitation site, dissected fish, gave presentations.
We live in an area that is relatively low socioeconomically, which we kind of love.
While on the boat, one of the girls in Maria’s group asked her, “Is your dad nice?”
Maria looked at her puzzled, before replying, “YES!” because, all dads are nice, right?
And the very next day, two girls, including the one who asked Maria about her dad, the one who saw Maria’s dad, the lone male chaperone, help her and hold her hand, who aided her to dissect the fish, and give high fives to all the kids, told another little girl to pick on Maria and make fun of her, while they sat in back and laughed at her.
And while she was bullied, she didn’t fight back, but sat and felt sad.
Maria didn’t tell us that same day, but the next.
Out first response was anger on the inside, as we asked her questions about it, as we asked Maria to talk out her feelings with us, and we took a deep breath.
“It made me feel almost really sad!” she told us, smiling really big now, you could tell a huge weight lifted off of her shoulders. This type of situation is not foreign to Maria, she has told us of many times when she and her friends were bullied in the orphanage, of kids grabbing and breaking her friends glasses, leaving her sobbing, of hitting and hurting, of teasing and slamming fingers in doors, leaving her with half a nail, but this time, she has parents to hear her, to care, and to make it right.
She told us of a little girl who stood up for her, “That’s not funny,” the girl told the bullies, “leave Maria alone.”
“Do you want me to talk to them on Monday when I pick you up?” I asked Maria.
“Um…no, well, actually yes!”
I know these girls, and they love when I pick Maria up with the boys, and they love that I talk to them and know their names and ask them about their days in school, the ones who are still waiting to be picked up from after school programs until almost dark.
“Actually, mama, they asked me if I had told you, but I told them I would today.”
“Ok, and I’ll talk to your teacher too.”
We talked about hurt and love, and how love is stronger. We talked about Jesus, his words and life that teach to do things counter to our emotions and what we would otherwise want to do in a situation.
“The last thing I would think of on my own is to love my enemies,” we told her, “but it’s what God wants.” We told her that hurt people hurt people, and that they might have big hurts in their hearts. We told her about how God wants us to pray for those who hurt us, because it’s good for them, but it’s good for our hearts, too. She nodded smiling. We bowed our heads, and she asked God to be with each of the girls who picked her out to bully, “Cause maybe they don’t have nice mommies and daddies, too, like I do…” she added.
She smiled as she hopped off to pick out a special one of her favorite tiny toys to give to the girl who stood up for her, “This one,” she said, beaming.
We decided we would write a nice note and give a gift to the sweet girl who stood up for her to say thank you, and I will talk to the girls on Monday, in a loving–and accountable way. I know in my heart that all kids needs love and mentorship, even if they are not your own.
|Nicest piece of furniture we own now!|