Friday, October 9, 2009

It's Harry's Birthday

Today is a wonderful day! It is the day we celebrate the birth of Harry. 10 years ago today, on a very, very hot day in the San Joaquin Valley in CA, I gave birth to our first born son. So, this post is in honor of this amazing boy.

I have always described Harry as being complicated. He is a deep thinker, a very sensitive boy and one who likes to be alone. But..he also is very funny and can make Joe and I bust out laughing with his very mature wit. I am so proud of the young man that Harry is growing into.

Recently, Harry was the "student of the week" in his 4th grade class. At the end of the week, the students presented him with a book all about Harry. The kids each had a page to write something about Harry, and over and over again, the students wrote about Harry's kindness and his joy. One student wrote, "Harry brings light to the class. Our class would not be the same without his smile, his kindness and his joy."

Harry is now facing new challenges, specifically having a younger brother from Africa. Part of the challenge is the cultural difference, part of the trouble is George's immaturity. But weekly, Harry is confronted with the world being mean to George. Many students here in "very white Watertown" don't accept a boy with dark skin. That makes me sick, but that is for another post. George has been called some names. Like I said, sometimes it is because George does not know how to relate to other kids; his social skills are really, really poor (although he has come so far!!) But the kids on the bus don't know that and they just see a child who laughs inappropriately, stares and points, and then turns his head away when someone IS trying to talk to him. The result? He gets called some pretty bad names. And the result of that? Harry sees it and comes to George's defense!

What is interesting about this is that Harry is the last one of the home-made kids to accept and embrace George. In fact, there are very few times the two of them have even smiled at each other, let alone laughed or hugged. Harry was so disappointed in the boy that came home from Ethiopia. He was hoping for a boy that would be close to him, sharing life with him. What came home was a temper-tantrum throwing "baby". Harry was shocked and disturbed at a boy who would strip off his clothes and scream the top of his lungs when we told him "no". I can't blame him.

While the other kids have let go of that image and seen the changes, Harry has struggled a bit in this area. He has forgiven, he is just having a much more difficult time accepting his new brother.

Or so it seems....on the bus, the girls will shrink down in their seats and try to ignore what is going on. Harry, on the other hand, rises to the occasion, defends his brother and then takes the consequences for him. That makes me very proud of my son.

Harry has changed so much since we started reading 5 Psalms and 1 chapter of Proverbs each morning...and I can say that the Word has done a work in his life, not me. When I told the kids last year of my plan to start our mornings this way, Harry was so angry. For most of last year, he would conveniently need to look for his shoes, or have trouble packing up his backpack, and before I knew it, we were done and he hadn't been there at all. We then worked out a deal where he could be in another room while we read, but he had to listen.

Eventually, he joined us at the kitchen table. Then, when we brought home George, something changed and Harry realized he needed the Word more than anything. He started reading with zeal. He began asking question after question. He would sit at that table and want to talk about what we just read.

Today, he was the first one to the table with his open Bible. He talks about how he "gets" the Proverbs where we are told over and over again to accept discipline. He is asking God for wisdom and watching out for folly who calls out from the streets.

I stand amazed at how God is working in his life. Thank you Lord, for this amazing son you have trusted to me to parent.

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