My friend was dropping his son off at their small, Christian school and could tell the boy was troubled. The eleven-year-old is an earnest, hard-working, eager to please child. Some may say too eager to please. A little too desperate to be perfect, perhaps.
So when he didn’t want to go to school, that was a big red flag.
After some gentle questioning, the boy said he was having trouble with his science small group. He was the leader, you see. The responsibility rested on his shoulders, you see. And he was proud of that and took that seriously, you see.
So what’s the problem? The dad asked.
“There’s a kid who keeps laughing. He won’t take it seriously.”
“What makes him laugh?”
“I don’t know. That’s just it. We’ll be working and he’ll suddenly start laughing. And he won’t stop.”
“Is he showing off for a girl?”
“No,” said the boy, his brow furrowed with worry.
“Is he goofing off with a friend?”
“No,” said the boy.
“Is he making fun of someone?”
“No, I don’t think so,” said the boy, sighing with resignation, “He just starts laughing and won’t stop.”
So the father gave him a few words of encouragement and wisdom, hoped for the best and nudged him out the door. It didn’t seem to work. The boy’s shoulders were stooped with discouragement. Through the open car window, he called to his son, “Hey! What’s the name of the project?”
In complete frustration and yet total innocence, the boy called back, “The Discovery of Uranus.”