Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Left Out

We went to AWANA tonight and I worked on verses with five children. The first four were obviously good students, easily mastering their objectives for the evening. My fifth student, a new girl, just broke my heart. She's a second grader, but can't read much at all. She couldn't grasp any of the vocabulary associated with the salvation message. I tried explaining the meaning of forgiveness, for instance, in different ways, but she just looked at me with a blank stare. The whole time, my stomach was just in knots. I wanted to become her teacher on the spot, so I could work one-on-one with her to teach her how to read, and work on building her vocabulary.

Perhaps she has a borderline IQ, or perhaps she fell through the cracks during her kindergarten and first grade years. I will probably never know, since it's hardly an appropriate question to ask her parent(s) in the context of a children's church program. Not all of the AWANA students actually go to our church. There is a sign on the lawn, advertising the program. Many parents send their children after noticing the sign.

I am just feeling sad about her situation. I wish I could get to know the family and offer tutoring. With a good amount of daily one-on-one, so much more is possible, compared to the standard school remediation programs. How I would find the time, I don't know. It's a crazy thought. But my heart just feels so heavy tonight, thinking about her. If her situation is part of God's will, meaning he has given her only a shady 80 IQ, that's one thing. But if her struggling is from the lack of enough targeted instruction, that depresses me. I can't imagine the inner turmoil experienced by these children who are, for whatever reason, left out of the "literacy club". Watching children around them sailing along, meeting all expectations, must be so very painful.

Please pray that she comes back next week, and that she can grasp the Gospel message. And pray that somehow, I can be of help to her. Maybe she has captured my heart only so that I will remember her struggles in daily prayer. Only God knows.

1 comment:

Terry said...

Do you know what school she goes to? Most communities have volunteer mentor programs to help struggling readers. Ours is sponsored by the city school system, and we spend one hour, two days each week working one-on-one with a first grader failing to meet benchmarks.

Even if you can't work with this child, there are others ... about 5 million in fact ... who could use your love and support.

Terry Doherty
The Reading Tub, Inc.