My grandson had a football, tossing it in the air and catching it as he entered the room. He came to me and asked, “Do you wanna play catch?” I said, “Sure.” So we began passing the football back and forth. This was our conversation:
Me: How’s school going?
Me: How are the kids at school? Are most of them nice?
Him: The only thing that makes me sad is that I get picked last all of the time for football at recess.
Me: Awwwww. (I didn’t know what to say – my heart sank.)
Him: It’s okay. A lot of times I get on the same team as my friends.
Me: (Curious) Why do you think you get picked last?
Him: Because last year I was butterfingers. I dropped the ball a lot when they passed it to me.
Him: This year, I’m better – but they don’t pass it to me.
My heart ached at that moment when my grandson told me that he was always picked last. While he felt some sadness, my grandson did not let this define him or his school experience. He still considers the other boys his friends and continues to play with them at recess. He has many strengths and talents. I was proud of him for being able to articulate his feelings and how he was handling the whole situation. He is a happy boy who likes school. He will not always be the best at everything he tries. This can be a hard lesson in the early years. Life and the people around us can deal us some heavy blows.
That afternoon, I threw all kinds of different passes to my grandson. He did not drop the football one time. In life, he will probably drop the ball more than a few times. Our conversation on that day let me know that he is on his way to being able to handle those moments when things just don’t go quite right. He has a family who loves him. He has a grandma and papa who think that he hung the moon. And he has a Savior who loves him unconditionally whether he can catch a football or not catch a football. Jesus loves him for who he is with all of his strengths and weaknesses.
To all of the children out there who don't quite measure up in some way or who struggle or who experience sadness in their lives - I hope you experience teachers who show you your value and worth. School is much more than academics, it is also learning how to meet obstacles and overcoming hardships. School can be a community that supports you as you begin life's journey.
To all of my grandchildren, I say I love you always – you are my heart!