Monday, July 28, 2014

Prodigal son

I believe in choices. 

And I am raising these boys to make their own decisions and think for themselves.  One of the biggest problems that I see in Uganda is that no one is taught to think for themselves.  From a young age, children are beat into submission by their parents and at school.  They are trained to do what they are told and never question anything.  Almost like little robots.

I hate it and it makes me so sad.  There are no critical thinking skills.  No higher level thinking.  No making choices.

I want these boys to know that there is always a choice.  With that also comes knowing that there are always consequences for our choices.  When we make good choices, good things usually happen.  And of course the opposite is true also.

As a result, I give the boys a lot of freedom.  We talk about good choices and what is expected and then the boys have a choice what to do.   I want them to learn to think if I do X then Y will happen.  Sometimes, this works out well.  Sometimes, not so much. 

But I still believe in choices.

I want them to choose the right thing because it is right.  Not because they fear a punishment or me, but because they want to do the right thing.  I also want them to know forgiveness.  Forgiveness when we make the wrong choice.  Forgiveness when we make a mistake.  It is impossible for them to understand God’s unending love and forgiveness if they don’t experience it here on Earth.  So we forgive, a lot.  And we know that tomorrow is a new day, where we will try to do better.  We know that we are forgiven for yesterday and it is over.

This results in many second chances and learning some difficult lessons.

A boy left back in April after a huge disagreement.  He thought that life would be easier/better on his own.  He had been helping a family in our village because the husband is living far away and the mom needed help with all of their animals.  She doesn’t have any sons, and treated him like one.  He thought that life would be easier if he just worked for her full time caring for all of her animals.  I let him go, even though I knew it was a bad choice.  But I let him go, knowing God brought him to me, He wouldn’t take him away.  The first few days, were rough.  We didn’t talk much but this boy is like a gentle giant.  He has a really soft heart and soon our anger disappeared and things were almost normal.  He stopped by regularly to say hi, but he never apologized or asked to come back home.

This past week, I knew something was different.  I could feel it.    And sure enough, he came back and begged for forgiveness.  He told me how I was his family and he should have never left me.  He told me how he missed his brothers and that lady deceived him.  He told me how he learned so much at home and wanted to come back home.

It wasn’t an easy lesson for any of us to go through, but it was needed.  He learned he had a choice and he made it.  He learned it wasn’t a good choice, but still the choice was his to make.  Because he had the freedom to choose, he was able to come home and experience forgiveness and a second chance. 

Something we all need…

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