Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Science Fair Fun
I feel like I need to preface this post by telling you that I have been trying to write it for days and my thoughts just keep going around and around . . . My heart has been burdened and I can't seem to get my feelings down in words. So my apologies beforehand if things wander or don't make much sense!
Anyways, because nothing is better than doing school work when its completely unnecessary, Adam and I agreed to help two of our boys from downtown (Zack and Sabo) with their science fair projects. We didn't quite know what we were getting ourselves into - in other words, we had no idea how unprepared and ill-equipped these poor boys actually were to create a science fair project. Both boys failed science last year (but it 'don't matter' because they just keep moving up in grades anyways . . . science doesn't count). Without our help, I'm almost positive they just wouldn't have done it.
Our time spent helping them was interesting and eye-opening. Although we visit them at home every Saturday and see them a few more times throughout the week, this was the first time we had spent any amount of time in their homes. When we got downtown with supplies and ready to work on a very large project due in two days, Zack's mom wasn't sure where Zack was -- outside somewhere? Once we finally got him inside and started to work on the project, Zack's mom joined us and actually seemed quite into the experiment (which paper towel was most absorbent), despite the fact that she had no idea what the scientific method was, or what hypothesis meant, or even what his problem was, or his conclusion should be . . . The good news is that we were able to empower her to help Zack finish his project, and I left feeling completely certain that she would make sure he turned it in (because now SHE was invested in the project herself).
At Sabo's house, we went upstairs to help him put together his poster board (since he had already done the experiment) Sabo's grandmother cannot leave her spot on the couch, so she cant help him. Sabo and his brother Sincere share a room which consists of bare, dingy off-white walls, two twin beds with bare matresses (no sheets) which were stained, lumpy and all-together unappetizing as a place to sleep (which is probably why 8 year old Sincere usually sleeps on the couch in front of the tv). Seeing how this eleven year old boy lives helped me understand why he seems completely depressed every time we are at his house or in his neighborhood, but is a laughing, funny, normal boy when we're at our house or church or anywhere else.
This understanding helped me come to an important realization about why these boys fail. (Well that's not super-accurate, because there are LOTS of reasons they fail) but one important reason is that it is so much safer to NOT TRY than to try and fail anyways. Because how are these boys supposed to do a science project that has to be typed when they have no computers? or parents who know what "hypothesis" means? or parents who can get out of bed for that matter . . . (As a side note - why would they give inner-city kids a project that requires typing and "dressing up" for the presentation??)
I dont even know what my point is, except that these boys are precious children of God. They deserve to be loved and cared for as much as we do, as much as Jayci does. But just because of where Jayci was born, she is going to be given so many more opportunities and chances for success. Because of where these boys are born, they face obstacles that often seem too big to surmount -- but I guess that's why the Lord tells us to take care of "the least of these." By loving them and helping them, I see Jesus and feel Jesus and am filled with a joy that comes from knowing that He loves his children all deeply regardless of their circumstances.