Working with kids brings both disappointment and encouragement. I experienced a bit of both last week.
Students begin Easter break tomorrow and Living Hope is taking 100 6th- and 7th-graders away to camp. Red Hill was allotted 23 spaces, but we decided to bring only 16, picking the kids who attend the most and behave the best at the after-school clubs.
As I was handing out registration forms on Wednesday, two teenage boys, knowing I had extra spaces available, told me they were in Grade 7 and begged me to let them go. I thought they were in Grade 9, but they promised me they weren’t lying. After I sent them home with the registration forms, several of their classmates came up to me and said they had indeed lied.
I managed to catch one before I left and he finally admitted his dishonesty as he hung his head in shame. At first I felt anger, but that quickly melted into disappointment. “Have these kids not learned anything we’ve been teaching them?” I wondered.
When I arrived at Red Hill the next day, the other boy, Lucas, approached me and said he needed to say something. “I was dishonest about my age,” he said. “Will you forgive me?” I was still disappointed by what he had done – and told him so – but I was also encouraged that he had come forward to admit his mistake. I just hope he remembers the lesson next time he’s tempted to beat the system.
As for the camp, we’re going to a place called Wortelgat, located in the mountains about two hours east of Cape Town. I’m told it’s a real wilderness-type experience, and I’m just as excited as the kids. I’ll report back and post photos when we return later in the week.