“Hello what is your name? My name is Giuseppe.” Most of Mario’s middle school students can, at best, only say a few simple phrases like those. The school’s programs don’t work well. But fortunately, his private students do better!
Mario loves his kids and teaching, but often feels he doesn’t do a good job. But I think he’s a second Mr. Chips! Under his tutelage, failing grades become excellent, and students (young and old) love him!
A true teacher, after all, is one who imparts the desire to learn. And he has a real gift for that!
But he hopes to do more than just teach them English. He wants to show them that there are people who really care about them. And to help them believe in themselves. And in the Lord who made them and loves them, just as they are.
So we’d like to introduce one of his middle school students. And ask you to pray for him, and for all his pupils!
He’s special. Which makes school tough. And he doesn’t get the extra help he needs with his learning disability. The teachers are good to him. But the kids tease him mercilessly, making each day torture. He learns slowly — perhaps because they’ve convinced him he can’t learn.
He looks forward to lessons at our house, because he knows he’s loved. He’s like a little kid in many ways, giggling when he gets something right. And we rejoice right along with him!
But at first, Giuseppe’s mother was afraid to ring our door bell! If people saw her come here, they would talk! My response? “Who cares? We’re not doing anything wrong!” Imagine if she’d been coming to a Bible study! It’s hard to reach out in the villages. Fear of what others think, and might say, dominates their thoughts and lives.
I wanted to recount this story to help us remember that sometimes it doesn’t take much to touch someone’s life.
Sometimes it seems like we don’t do much, or that or life doesn’t count for much. But often a simple encouraging word or little gesture can change a sad situation. They can help someone overcome a trial or sadness. Most people are simply looking for someone who cares about them, and who will be there for them!
Because one of our greatest needs, after all, is to have someone who cares about us. Someone willing to help.
And young people, in particular, need this today. School is tough. Kids are under great peer pressure. And the temptations, especially for young hearts and minds not yet formed, are immense. But we can offer them friendship, show that we care. And today, in our society with all its upside down and broken relationships, we can even become family for them.
Let’s start today by saying, “Hello, I care about you!” Because encouraging a young person can bring about positive change in his or her life. And by touching one life at a time in this way, we can bring positive change even to tomorrow’s society!
What young people could you encourage today? Or adopt as part of your family?
[Image of Italian school ©TheScorziellos-Mario]
Disclaimer: Name changed for privacy protection.