One boy’s story

He walked alongside the road, huddled beside his mother to ward off the air whipping around him hearing the swoosh of cars passing him as they walked to school. No car and no bus meant they walked from their tiny home and hoped to be offered a ride.

The daily walk ended the day their small school closed due to deficiencies.

“We will home school,” his parents declared, certain they knew enough to teach an elementary student. Perhaps they did. They did not, however, know how to deal with the daily grind of sitting down with a child and covering lessons every single. Too quickly excuses piled higher than unfinished homework. Too many days began, “Today let’s have a break” until a week, a month and and then two passed with no lessons.

Unexpectedly they had to leave their small house due to deficiencies. The boy’s family gathered up their meager belongings and rented a room by the day in an area where Stranger Danger lurked outside the door. A kid needs to run and play. There was no room. Not in the parking lot or on the sidewalk in front of the buildings all around him.

“No! You can’t go outside and play. It’s too dangerous,” his mother always said when he asked. “Go watch TV and be quiet.”

He watched and waited. Waited for something more than the television’s constant drone in the dim room. Despair set in and hope faded until a concerned friend made calls insisting that something be done, “Move to a bigger place with room for play and a school nearby.”

The bigger place did not have electricity for warming food or family.

“We can sleep on the floor in sleeping bags. We can fix it up. Lots of people have lived on less,” his parents said. Friends offered the child a bed while they fixed things.

The sleeping bags never became beds. The friends emphatically insisted he live with them until the situation improved. There he had his own bed, a yard big enough for any boy to explore and a large school with the daily routine of lessons to study and recess with other kids. The seeping sadness once invading the child lifted. He began to glimpse the possibilities his parents had ignored.

Then he received a scholarship to a church camp far from the city with its one room habitat surrounded with Stranger Danger.

Driving into the camp he saw massive trees, acres of green grass, a basketball court and tether ball court. He could see forever. No walls broke his vision. No huge parking lot filled with cars forbade his presence. No tvs or electronics were allowed to distract campers. A circle of cabins, dining hall and activity buildings awaited him at the edge of the forest. He wanted to try everything: baseball, volleyball, swimming and horse riding.

Until time to leave he barely stopped for meetings and meals. He explored everything: the trees, the trails, the games. The adults sat and visited. He walked everywhere, played everything and smiled constantly. The first night in the the cabin, he joyfully declared, “I feel like I have gone to heaven.”

He had escaped the bleakness of days of sitting in front of a television set in a darkened room waiting for some action. At camp he discovered the world beyond his past. He found freedom to roam, play and learn. He heard again that the Son will set you free. He embraced the woods, the sunshine and the message of God’s love. He found hope and welcomed it completely.

He walked alongside the road, huddled beside his mother to ward off the air whipping around him hearing the swoosh of cars passing him as they walked to school. No car and no bus meant they walked from their tiny home and hoped to be offered a ride.

The daily walk ended the day their small school closed due to deficiencies.

“We will home school,” his parents declared, certain they knew enough to teach an elementary student. Perhaps they did. They did not, however, know how to deal with the daily grind of sitting down with a child and covering lessons every single. Too quickly excuses piled higher than unfinished homework. Too many days began, “Today let’s have a break” until a week, a month and and then two passed with no lessons.

Unexpectedly they had to leave their small house due to deficiencies. The boy’s family gathered up their meager belongings and rented a room by the day in an area where Stranger Danger lurked outside the door. A kid needs to run and play. There was no room. Not in the parking lot or on the sidewalk in front of the buildings all around him.

“No! You can’t go outside and play. It’s too dangerous,” his mother always said when he asked. “Go watch TV and be quiet.”

He watched and waited. Waited for something more than the television’s constant drone in the dim room. Despair set in and hope faded until a concerned friend made calls insisting that something be done, “Move to a bigger place with room for play and a school nearby.”

The bigger place did not have electricity for warming food or family.

“We can sleep on the floor in sleeping bags. We can fix it up. Lots of people have lived on less,” his parents said. Friends offered the child a bed while they fixed things.

The sleeping bags never became beds. The friends emphatically insisted he live with them until the situation improved. There he had his own bed, a yard big enough for any boy to explore and a large school with the daily routine of lessons to study and recess with other kids. The seeping sadness once invading the child lifted. He began to glimpse the possibilities his parents had ignored.

Then he received a scholarship to a church camp far from the city with its one room habitat surrounded with Stranger Danger.

Driving into the camp he saw massive trees, acres of green grass, a basketball court and tether ball court. He could see forever. No walls broke his vision. No huge parking lot filled with cars forbade his presence. No tvs or electronics were allowed to distract campers. A circle of cabins, dining hall and activity buildings awaited him at the edge of the forest. He wanted to try everything: baseball, volleyball, swimming and horse riding.

Until time to leave he barely stopped for meetings and meals. He explored everything: the trees, the trails, the games. The adults sat and visited. He walked everywhere, played everything and smiled constantly. The first night in the the cabin, he joyfully declared, “I feel like I have gone to heaven.”

He had escaped the bleakness of days of sitting in front of a television set in a darkened room waiting for some action. At camp he discovered the world beyond his past. He found freedom to roam, play and learn. He heard again that the Son will set you free. He embraced the woods, the sunshine and the message of God’s love. He found hope and welcomed it completely.

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