A Changed Heart

Rock House Kids took 22 teens to winter camp a few years ago.
We experienced many ups and downs during our weekend away. Some kids were fussing with each other, being disrespectful, and being sneaky with their phones—the bottom line was poor behavior.
The camp had an activity called Stump ball, similar to extreme Frisbee, but played with a ball instead. We were the Stump ball champions the previous year, and the kids were very excited. Well, this year and were knocked out in the first round. They went into the game very prideful and left the game defeated.
They did not respond well to losing. Some pouted. Some said the other teams cheated. Others threw themselves on the ground.
Saturday evening was the Stump ball championship game. Still sulking, many kids did not want to watch the final game. The mentors insisted they go and support the two teams who played. Other teams came out and supported us at our championship game, and they needed to do the same. After the game, the kids congratulated the winning team. Our kids had a change of heart – from bitterness to joy.
We discovered the reason for their behavior. In their world, they have to fight for everything they want – whether it is to get food, an adult’s attention, or fight against people who are bullying them in school. They have to fight to protect themselves in their neighborhoods. Every day is a fight for them.
RHK is the only place some kids can put down their guard and just be kids. It is a place where they don’t have to worry about someone in the building wanting to hurt them somehow. They feel everyone is out to get them.
We have an uphill battle trying to change the hearts and minds of the kids. It takes time. It takes trust.
After camp, I received a call from one of our campers. He apologizes to me for his behavior. The young man explained he didn’t understand why he acted the way he did and apologized again.
His heart changed. It had softened. It took a lot for him to call and make himself vulnerable to someone. In many of our kids’ families, forgiveness is not a part of their lives.
At RHK, we show forgiveness as stated in Colossians 3:13-14 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
This was a win!
We need more people, especially men, to come and work with our kids – mentors to show them unconditional love and forgiveness so more hearts can be changed. Is that person you?