So what does a 10 year old dream about?
Becoming a football star, or a baseball star?
Becoming the next Lebron James?
Turning 16 and getting a new car?
Living in a home where everyone gets along?
Being able to get through the school day without getting in trouble?
When we heard Jay was coming to stay with us the first time, we were told that we might have some challenging times with him. Jay had been struggling both at home and at school and we were told his behaviors would require some extra attention on our part.
But that first visit was very pleasant for both Jay and us. Jay attached himself to Moses right off the bat and spent a good part of his time during this first visit reading to him. Jay got along well with the staff, too, and really enjoyed himself at Blessing House. He couldn’t wait to come back.
Jay had a couple of more visits that were necessitated because of emergencies at his home. Again, Jay did well, playing with the other children and hanging with his buddy, Moses.
Then Jay had to come and stay for an extended period of time because of a health problem in his family. When he arrived this time, he knew he would be with us for a while and the smile on his face when he walked in the door let us know he was glad to be back.
Jay quickly settled into the routine that he had become used to. He especially enjoyed his rides to and from school where he had a chance to chat with the staff one on one. It was during these rides that he began to share some of his hopes and dreams
“Do you like any sports?” I asked one day.
“I like both football and basketball,” he replied.
“What position do you play?”
“Quarterback. And in basketball I grab all of the rebounds.”
I asked him then if he would rather throw the football or run with it and he quickly answered, “Oh, I love to run with it!”
I asked him if he was fast and he again blurted out, “Oh,
NOBODY can catch me!”
I then told him as we approached the school building that I was counting on him doing well so that I could come and watch him some day when he was playing for the Cleveland Browns. He just smiled as he got out the door and said, “OK, that’s a deal.”
Jay loved being at Blessing House. He even suggested at one point that maybe he could just move in. It didn’t bother him that there were so many people in and out during the day. He just looked at it as having a bunch of moms who were all there to take care of him. He thought that was pretty neat.
On another ride home from school, Jay was talking to Sr. Mary about the “some days . . “ that he dreamed about. He told Sr. Mary that some day, he was going to be a millionaire. And when he was, he was going to give some of his money to Blessing House.
Sr. Mary told him how nice that was for him to think of us and how wonderful that would be.
Then Jay was quiet a moment before asking, “Sr. Mary, do you think you will still be alive when that happens?”
Thinking she only had a few gray hairs and they weren’t that noticeable, Sr. Mary just answered, “If the Lord is willing.”
Once he arrived back at Blessing House, Jay greeted everyone and had his after school snack. Then he grabbed his book from his bookbag and looked for Moses so he could retreat to his special spot and read to him about his dreams for the future.
I’m not sure if it was a book about becoming a football star, or one about how to make millions. But I do know that he had discovered through both his reading and his stay at Blessing House that he could dream about a future that held hope for him. Once free from the tension and boundaries he had been accustomed to, he was able to look forward to the next day when he knew what was going to happen and had a little better idea how he was going to handle it.
What is tomorrow without hope?
What is a future without dreams?