Mom, Can I play with "B"?
Door bell rings. (I cringed) Josiah peeks out the window and shouts, "Mom, can I play with "B"?".
Usually, I don't mind having kids come in and out of our home. In the month that we've lived here, we've had kids over almost everyday. But, when it's "B", I tend to cringe a little.
"B" is a challenge for me. Don't get me wrong, he's a super sweet kid. We first met "B" the day that we moved in. Our son, Josiah, was thrilled. He made his first friend in a matter of minutes. I even said a silent prayer of gratitude to the Lord.
The first few times that he came over were okay. His voice is set on high volume most of the time. After spending time with "B", we've noticed some behavior that is not easy to handle.
"B" comes from a broken home. His parents are divorced and have split custody. His dad is living with his girlfriend and between them have a handful of children. It's a busy household with a lot of needs.
After speaking with his dad, we have come to find out that "B" has ADHD as well as some form of being overly aggressive and extremely disobedient.
As he gets comfortable with us, I have seen him raise his fist at my daughter, use harsh words to my son, and ignoring the rules of our home. On a number of occasions, I've had to just send him home.
In my mind, I tend to give myself a good excuse for not allowing him over. "I have four children of my own to try and raise up." "I can't have someone influencing my kids in a negative way." "I have to protect my children." All of my self-given excuses are good. We need to place boundaries in our lives, but is this the time to writeoff a 10 year old boy because of his occasional outbursts?
Two days ago, the boys in the neighborhood had a firework war with "Snappers". "B" got upset over a Snap that was on the ground & picked up by Josiah. He began to yell & demand for it back. He stood over Josiah trying to scare & intimidate him. The 'momma bear' in me began to growl.
Lucky for him, my husband quickly stepped in. While trying to talk to "B", we could see on his face anger beyond description. He quickly went to a place far from reality. As Sergio began to grab his hand to take him home, he ran off.
Sergio walked down to "B's" home to speak with his dad who was firmly holding "B" to calm & control the episode. Sergio and "B's" dad have established a good relationship, so Sergio told him that he'd be back to talk.
We left for the fourth of July cookout held at our team leaders home. Thoughts of "B" filled my mind most of the night. What was I going to do? Josiah was scared and said several times, "did you see "B's" face". It was a difficult situation, but it was a teachable moment for our children.
After the cookout, we came home and sat outside with the neighbors during a fireworks show. The mom across the street told me that her kids are not to play with "B" and his family. She told me to be careful and that he was extremely aggressive. He has recently run over another neighbor kid with his bike, putting her in a cast from hip to ankle. He has no remorse. His response, "she should've moved."
I told her that I will be respectful of her rules and will have her kids come over when "B" and his family are not over.
There are many stories of "B" floating around the neighborhood. Should I be worried?
After a discussion with Sergio, we've decided to not look like the world. If we look like the others in our neighborhood, how will "B's" family know love? Our response is important to both his family and to our children. Our children are watching us and will know His love by the way we love.
We've decided to go ahead and continue to have this family over, but with limits. They can come over when Sergio is home. We will have extra eyes, ears, and hands to handle any outbursts that may pop up. We will not leave any of the children alone. We will stay with them while they play. If we are unable to do so, then it is not a good night for them to be over.
In doing so, we are living missionally. We are loving "B" and his family and we are putting up boundaries to protect our family.
I'm glad that we made this decision.
"B" came over today to play. But before doing so, he sincerely wanted to apologize to our family for his actions. What a wonderful opportunity to share God's love & forgiveness with him!
I'm sure that the outbursts will still come. At least now, we are ready.