Yesterday I dropped Jorge off at his new school, almost an hour and a half from his home in Bella Vista. He had a permanent smile on his face the whole morning. I brought a few things for Jorge, like shampoo, soap, a few hand towels, a sheet and pillow, because the family didn't have extras to spare. Hi mom made his bed and arranged his clothes on his small nightstand. We hung his mosquito net just like all the other ones in the boy's dorm. He was elated. We met with the director, the Mother Superior of the Catholic school, the only school for deaf children in southern Paraguay. She welcomed Jorge with a big hug.
We walked into his classroom and Sister Eliadora shook his hand and showed him to his seat. I was nervous that he would feel out of place starting first grade as a 12 (almost 13) year old. Much to my relief, his 2 other classmates are 11 and 12! The only thing Jorge knows how to do is spell his name. He can't even write his numbers to ten. Then the director told us that we should go and that we can pick him up on Friday at 11 a.m.
Jorge_002Then I saw Jorge's dad (Jorge Sr.) clutch his son and weep. His mom kissed him and wept, then his younger siblings. I got teary-eyed myself just thinking about the mixed emotions this family was facing. On the way home we talked about how excited they are for their son to start his education and thus have a future. However, it will be a huge adjustment. He has never even been away from home one night. Since Jorge knows how to count on his hand, they explained earlier that he would go to school for 5 nights and then go home for 2. He looked at his family reassuringly and showed them 5 fingers almost saying, "Don't be sad, we'll see each other again in five sleeps!" If you think about it, would you pray for Jorge and his family this week.
This experience really got me thinking about the day my son goes to kindergarten, then to high school and off to college. These mile-markers are huge transitions, but necessary. Ultimately, our goal as parents is to raise loving, responsible children that are ready to face the harsh realities of the world and stand triumphantly. If we never let them go, they will never be able to stand as victors. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up your child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it." That is certainly our hope, prayer and responsibility.
The director jokingly asked if Timmy would be staying too. "Not on your life" I thought. I know I will eventually need to let my little boy fly, but right now he's secure under the safety of mommy and papi's wings. The time for Timmy's first day of school will come all too quickly and we have many miles to go in teaching him God's ways.