When a child believes that he’s stupid, all of a sudden the world is a small place, opportunities are limited, and taking a risk is a dangerous thing to even consider. That’s how my tutoring session started out – with the declaration, “I’m stupid.” It’s the most heart breaking thing to hear a child say. This is a 15 year old boy who is trying to pass 6th grade. He feels completely alone and hopeless.
Today we did a lesson in place value. I used an abacus and some place value cards. We did a few simple games – understanding ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands. At the end of the lesson he did a sample test and got them all correct. “I never understood this before,” he said to me with a spark in his eyes. “They never taught me this way.” And there it was – a glimmer of hope. That realization that he can learn, he’s not stupid and with each success, this feeling will grow. Then the world will open up to him, full of possibilities – he can dream and shoot for the stars!
If you think of it, pray for this boy and others like him. That they will continue to show up for their lessons and give it their all. Pray that with the help and support of their church and a community of Christians that love them, they will succeed and break the cycle of poverty that encircles them, rise above and live life to their full potential.
What about you? Do you have even just 30 minutes a week you could invest into a child at risk in your area? Tutoring and mentoring have the potential to change the course of a child’s life.