We arrived Wednesday evening and unloaded the car and van, leaving the moving truck to tackle on Thursday. I opened the truck late Thursday morning and started taking out the smaller stuff - the things my kids and I could do before anyone else arrived to help. As we started unloading it, a boy pulled up on his bike and offered to help. He said it was his father's birthday - and that he would like to earn a little money to get him something. I sensed right away that the kid was lying - that it wasn't his dad's birthday, but I also sensed that he was lonely and didn't want to be home. Therefore, I told him he could help - and he pitched in and worked hard for a couple of hours.
He has been back each day since to help some more, and I have become convinced that he is a reflexive liar - and also that he can be mean to kids who cross him. I also have become convinced that his home life is not very good. The interesting thing to me is that despite these feelings, I also am convinced that I don't want to stop him from coming over and associating with us. I sense a goodness in him more fundamental than the other stuff.
I got off the phone a few minutes ago with someone in town we met when we were house hunting, where I explained about this kid. Her immediate response was, "He's a thief and a liar and has a mean streak. Don't let him be around your kids." The conversation confirmed what I had felt, but as she described him I had a sudden flash of insight into my resolution this month to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. My thought was:
"How would I want someone else to treat me if I were this young man? Would I want someone I had just met to shun me because of my reputation? Even more importantly, if I likened this situation to the Gospels, what kind of story would be told of how Jesus would have interacted with this young man?"
I am debating internally exactly what I should do - exactly what I should say to this boy. I am wavering between a couple of options, but I know that I can't shun him and send him away. First, that's not what the DeGraw Hotel is about; second, I can't get past the feeling that this young man is redeemable - that he is a child of God and needs to have someone treat him as such.
In the end, I want to do unto him properly - and I think I know how I am going to do that. I pray I will be inspired - that what I decide to do will help him. At the very least, I am grateful for my resolution this month, as it has prompted me in this case to see the worth of the soul in someone it appears others have written off as undesirable - at the ripe old age of 12.