I have four boys that live in my house that do not belong to me. I love them dearly but I did nothing to create them. They have been added to my house a boy at a time over the past year and have been preceded by 70-ish others over the past seven years. They all have come for different reasons. Some of them are here because of situations that they have created for themselves. Some are a product of their environment. They are all different.
However, they all have one thing in common. Every single one of them has had an assumption made about them by someone else based on where they live. My wife and I live at a group home facility and provide care for teenage boys. My boys are often referred to as “home kids” or, here in Virginia, “Plantation boys” because the land we live on used to be part of Patrick Henry’s plantation.
How unfair is that?
Everyone is supposed to get a chance to start over right? Yet, here they are with a stigma placed on them before anyone even gets a chance to know them. This morning, I was reminded of that, in a subtle way, at church. Now, before anyone makes any assumptions, my boys were not targeted by anyone in the church. The church we are currently attending has been incredibly open to the boys in our cottage.
Here’s the story.
We arrived at church a little late this morning and chose to slide into one of the back corner sections of the church so as to not be too distracting. There were three boys sitting in the back row that appeared to be somewhere between 10 to 12 years old and were being absolutely ridiculous. At one point, one of them farted out loud and they all began laughing out loud in regards to how funny this was.
Now, we’ve been going to this church since this past November and I have seen these boys around the church quite a bit and they pointed out to me in conversation today that they had grown up in the church. While this was going on, my boys sat quietly and remained attentive to the service.
As I was driving home after church, my mind went back to that. A lot of assumptions are made about children who have to come live in a group home. Some of them are fair, I’ll give you that. However, we have to get past our assumptions about these boys and really get to know them. That same truth applies to us all.
I realize that, as I am writing this, I have made assumptions about those three boys at church this morning as well. I don’t know them and I don’t know their lives. Who knows what brought them to where they were this morning? I guess that’s part of the truth of this life. We all get here from different places. Maybe we should stop making judgments about each other and instead, try to understand the differing roads that have brought us all together.
Life is Strange. Live it Well.