The young man God has put into our care is so wonderful! It amazes me to see him be a playful little boy one moment and a full-on emotionally responsible man the next. I assume that is what these preteen years are like for most folks, but it still amazes me to see it happening in my own home.
Taking J out of Petra has been a major family decision, with lots of tears, lots of prayers, hours of contemplation, hours of investigation into options and opportunities. Whew! We are exhausted.
We actually started this process back in January when it was suddenly clear that the Petra way wasn’t connecting with J’s needs. Petra is a great school. J is a great boy. But the two were not on the same page. We tried to get on the same page – actually have been trying to get the boy to come to the school page for quite a while, and that was no more successful than trying to get the school to come to his page.
But we did find a school that seems to have integrated just the tools J needs – encouragement through the assignment, relationships with teachers that are based on more than just academic performance, follow-up when things go wrong, and a bit more of a relaxed environment.
Last Friday the good-byes were said at Petra. Spring Break is moving along, and in 6 days he’ll be at his new school.
Those who know J will know that he is a social creature, and this change means leaving behind some very dear friends. It is heart breaking! Andy and I know he will make new friends – God built him that way. But poor J has never had a change like this in his life, and he is afraid. Afraid of being alone. Afraid his old friends from Petra will forget him. Afraid the kids at his new school won’t like him. Afraid he won’t like the kids at his new school. So much fear!
At the same time, here we are with a boy who took it upon himself to call each of his Petra classmates on a Sunday evening to forewarn them that the next day he would be announcing that he was changing school. Andy told him he was putting too much pressure on himself to make all those sad calls, but he insisted – he didn’t want a big scene at school. Seven of the 11 he call cried. One threw the phone down, ran away, and J had to explain to his parent what had been so disturbing. He calmed his friends down. He explained that the school was just not a fit for him anymore. He assured students that he would see them at youth group. He promised to invite them to summer time camp outs. He agreed to go to YAA camp the same week they did.
That is what I call courage. Courage to step up and help his friends through the process of saying good-bye. Courage to be a man and make the best of the situation. Courage to be more focused on others than on self.