My heart broke today.
One of my youngest classes is filled with six incredibly sweet girls and boys. They are precious and though their English is really low, they try so hard in class. Recently they like to test their strength against mine by all of them holding the door closed when I come to start class. If all six of them are holding the door closed, I usually can't open it. But one of them, an adorable boy named Hyun-sung sometimes joins my team and pulls the door open with me. Once the doors opens, the kids scream and giggle as they cling to my arms and hug me. This usually takes up the first five minutes of class. It's not really English, but its adorable.
Well today, after all this happened and I finally got them settled in their seats, I realized I forgot their tests in the teachers room, so I went out to get the tests. When I returned, Hyun-Sung was sitting with his head on the desk. I thought maybe he was playing so I passed out the tests and then sat next to him and ruffled his hair, telling him to sit up and take his test. That's when I noticed his little body shaking in sobs. I was so confused. Hyun-sung is not a crier. We have some kids that cry easily, but he is not one of those. I put my arms around him and asked him over and over "What's wrong? What happened?" Finally some of the other kids told me that Alex, another boy in the class had punched him. I pulled Hyun-sung out of class and we sat on the couch in the hallway. I was so sad that this precious child was suffering. And even more so that he was suffering at the hands of another precious boy.
I took them both into the couselor's room and after a few minutes they came back to take their test. During the test, I knelt down to Alex and tried to ask him why he punched Hyun-sung. He just looked at me with a blank expression. I have heard the history of Alex beating up other boys in other classes. I have heard that Alex has no father in his life. And I have tried to show extra patience with him and to never lose my temper when dealing with him since I think he is used to the verbal and maybe physical abuse that can be so prevelent in this society. So my heart broke for him today as I knelt by him and touched him tenderly on the arm, and gently asked him why he hit Hyun-sung. I could see by the look in his eyes, that tenderness was not something he has often experienced. This is a boy filled with anger.
It turns out, I heard later from the counselor, that he punched him in the stomach because Hyun-sung had helped me open the door. That was when my stomach dropped. I hoped with all my heart that Hyun-sung wouldn't stop being good. That he wouldn't be posioned by the anger that had brought another child to punch him. And I wanted to cry for little Alex. No older than 6 years old, already a prisoner to anger. The mom of another boy that Alex has attacked numerous times said that she will call the police the next time it happens. I don't even know what to say to that.
Dear Lord, I pray your grace upon this child. May the comfort of Your gospel reach his heart. May his anger be burned away, his pain surrendered. Whatever has brought him to this place, may You be the redeemer of it!