Every Child Has A Story

A teacher I once worked with used to say, “Every child has a story.” It was the motto she used to empathise with some of the tougher high school students she encountered.

I have spent some years as the Welfare teacher at school. This role varies from pseudo-counsellor to disciplinarian (very mum-like at times!).

I taught a student named Geoff*. Geoff’s Mum came in to see us while he was in Year 5. She was dying of cancer and she wanted the school to know and support him. Unfortunately, when she did pass away, he only had a week off school and returned almost as though nothing had happened. Some years later, Geoff was moody and disengaged. He and I spent a lot of time together (mostly when I was “sent for” to remove him from class). He didn’t like women. His shearer Dad had difficulty coping with the loss himself. Geoff did have a strong sense of humour and it helped build a bridge between us on many an occasion. Unfortunately, things haven’t gone very well for him after he left school in Year 10. I often wonder whether some extra care on our part when Mum passed away would have made a real difference in his life.

In my counsellor role, I also dealt with Jodie*. I taught both Jodie and her elder brother, Simon. To be honest, I found them both to be surly and aggressive, though quite bright and well-kempt. I can’t quite remember why Jodie was sent to me but her story poured out. Her mother was an abusive alcoholic who used physical violence toward both children and her burly husband. Once I knew this, so much made sense. Suddenly my relationship with both students changed for the better. I guess they just wanted someone to understand.

Jesus knows all of our stories. Just as he was able to tell the Samaritan woman at the well,  “everything I ever did”, he also knows everything we ever did and loves us anyway. If we truly try to emulate him, we’ll find richness in everyone’s stories and trust that they will understand ours and accept us as we are.

*Names have been changed.