When DaRonn was a teenager he became passionate for the things of God. He began a group at his high school dedicated to studying the bible and doing outreach projects. He signed up to teach a Sunday School class and got paired with me to lead the 3rd and 4th graders. He was in church every time the doors were open for morning services, evening services, youth group and every other special meeting. He even hung out with the pastor in his free time.
Our friendship began in those hallowed halls of a mall turned church. We were a part of a group of young people from that church who hung out together. There was a couple at church who invited us to come over one night a week to hang out and talk about the things of God. We filled their home with energetic teenagers hungry to learn and grow spiritually. God was at the center of everything we did.
It must be clarified, though, that DaRonn was not a saint all the time. I had to laugh when his mother had no other recourse but to ground the boy from church. She forbade him from going to church for some kind of misbehavior. She knew that would get the message across to her son. At the time I just found it funny.
Now I can have a double laugh because I did a similar thing.
My Gabrielle is great friends with a girl in The House of Dreams. We are closer than neighbors with our orphanage seeing as it is located on our property just down the steps from our apartment and across the yard and paved soccer court. Every day Gabrielle asks me if she can go play at the orphanage. My answer is usually yes.
So most afternoons she can be found mixing it up with the 18 kids who live a stones throw away. They jump rope, do Barbies hair, make believe, swing, slide, run, and even get a smidgen of homework and chores around the orphanage done together every once in a while. Can you imagine? How clever it will be for her to tell people when she is older that she grew up in an orphanage.
The other day Gabrielle made some choices that crossed the line we had clearly drawn. She is naturally a limit pusher so this sort of thing has happened before and will most likely happen again. The infraction committed involved behavior at the orphanage. So it occurred to me that the only consequence that would have any impact on her would be to restrict her from the most favorite thing in her life. I grounded her from going to the orphanage for a certain number of days.
Trust me, I do realize that most parents would be thrilled if their nine year old daughter preferred to spend most of her time at an outreach center. It makes me so proud to see her caring for the younger ones, folding clothes, helping the kids with their homework or serving plates of food. I know this will have positive benefits in her life long term. I just didn’t feel as though I had any other recourse at the moment because of the choices she made.
That only lasted a few days. She is back to having a ton of fun. She learned that it is important to make better choices. I learned something too. I now understand my mother-in-law’s action when she grounded her son from church. We mothers are a funny bunch of folk.