He came to stay with us for a week. Seven long days to adjust to a hyper, angry little boy, raised so differently than our children. He didn't really want to be in our home, and so he made himself a bit more difficult during those days.
At least it seemed that way.
I would be lying if I claimed all went smoothly that week. It was rough!
Early in the week, we had a "refresher class" (for our children anyway) on tattling and the biblical way to handle offenses. I am so grateful for The Brother Offended chart and book from Doorposts! The colorful laminated chart hangs on our fridge and I saw several of our children revisiting that chart throughout the week.
The boys seemed to be most frustrated by our house guest (especially as he was staying in their room), and I noticed they were spending more time in prayer than usual. I found myself talking to them about how Jesus responded when He was treated badly and how Scripture admonishes us to treat our offenders. A few times I would begin the verse "A man that has friends..." only to be met with a child finishing with "...must show himself friendly" (Proverbs 18:24).
About mid-week the little boy had been caught in a lie and Destiny offered to help him memorize verses that she found helpful when she struggled in this area. He accepted her help and the two of them worked together till he had a few verses down.
At one point he tattled on Destiny for a petty offense (something that didn't involve him) and I thought, "she is the best friend he has in our home and here he is seeking to get her in trouble!"
The older girls struggled with his mischievous behavior and the way he would "sneak" around.
To be honest, I wasn't faring well myself. Little seemed to be accomplished those seven days, as I spent the majority of my time as a referee; constantly untangling disagreements in order to get to the heart of each issue that arose. However, I didn't miss a quiet time that entire week, knowing that I desperately NEEDED time alone with the Lord to prepare for the day ahead. I begged God for grace and wisdom to handle each situation I would encounter.
'Twas an intense week indeed!
We all breathed a bit of a sigh of relief once he had left for home. I'm being brutally honest here. Life is MUCH easier without conflict!
Soon after he had gone, I contemplated all that we had been through that week; all the ways we had grown. One morning we gathered to discuss the situation. I asked each child how they had been effected by the troubled boy's presence in our home. One by one, children confessed their shortcomings and struggles with loving the little guy. Then it was my turn to share my own observations of how I had seen each child's strengths coming through.
One child had been challenged most in patience. Another had dealt with resolving anger. Still another had worked on peacemaking skills.
I made the comment that I was amazed at the compassion of one little girl in our home. Destiny had demonstrated unconditional love and understanding beyond anyone's expectations. I had begun to view her in a different light that week.
That's when I felt compelled to share the truth that seemed to hit home. A person's worth is not determined by what they can do for us or what we can get out of them, but rather the qualities they draw out of us.
It bears repeating: The value of a person is not determined by what we can get out of them, but rather by what they draw out of us.
According to this definition, I'd say that difficult little boy is a worth more than any of us had considered before that "difficult" week.
In fact, we all agreed that he is a very valuable young man indeed!