Some say you're not supposed to have favorites when you are doing things like teaching school or leading a group, but I just can't help the way my heart goes out to different kids in tutoring. One young man in particular is someone that I long to see freed to become all that he can be, and I wish that I could establish a good relationship with him. He likes me OK, but when I try to invest in him more intentionally, he pushes me away by not showing up and acting indifferent. Yesterday I got a glimpse of why.
I was picking his sister up for Bible School and giving their mom a ride home, and I met this young man's father. He was on a bike, talking with D's mom and sister, and then he rode off as we left. I thought he acted a little strange when I complimented him on what a fine young man his son was, and as we drove off, D's mom told me that his father had not seen him since he was four years old. We were not three miles from D's house, and obviously the father still had some contact with D's mother, and yet for almost 10 years he has been gone from D's life for no good reason.
I know the statistics and I know the realities of kids without dads. But to meet one of the dads, to see how close he lived yet for all intensive purposes was across the country, and to realize that D must know that his dad is close by but doesn't want to see him - this gave life and flesh to the statistics.
No wonder D doesn't trust me when I try to build a relationship with him. Yet all the more reason to keep trying.