Last week one of my sons broke his wrist. It still makes me wince to think about it. Anyone who has fractured or broken a bone can testify to the acute pain and discomfort that pulsates through one’s body when a bone breaks or when it's just not the way it should be. As his mom, naturally when I got the news, I wished so much I could have taken that pain from him and just made everything right; but I couldn’t. Now, my son’s entire arm is in a great big blue cast and while his wrist slowly heals he has to learn how to live with this fracture. Every moment of every day he is reminded that things right now just aren’t the way they should be.
Metaphorically, we can all relate to living with fracture of some kind. Every one of us carries scars from circumstances or people that have broken some part of us. This is certainly true for many students in our public schools today. Heaven forbid any children are experiencing physical pain, but all kinds of evidence indicates that many students are living with some level of emotional pain.
I recently asked one of the Bible history teachers what he felt was his greatest challenge. He replied, “The kids are just really hurting...you know...from their home lives.” This is hard to hear and should fill our hearts with compassion. Kids don’t deserve to live with hurt. No one really does. However, we don’t have to look far to know that pain is a reality of life many have to face every day. We live in a broken world infinitely filled with circumstances and relationships that just aren’t the way they should be. And, some of life’s toughest lessons are learning how to live, love, and move forward in spite of pain and fracture.
This is just one of the many reasons we believe Bible history electives are so important for youth today. The Bible is a book of hope we believe every child should have the opportunity to read. One student recently said, “Bible history brings joy to many disappointed people.” Wow! While we’re delighted that Bible history is bringing joy to this young person, we are left wondering what could be going on in a kid’s life that would drive him to reach for the word ‘disappointed’ to describe not just himself, but also other students around him? Another student shared, “Bible history is the only reason I get up in the morning because then I think today’s going to be a good day.”
All around us, there seems to be more and more empirical evidence that students feel their lives are just not the way they should be. Many feel fractured and broken and teachers see the side effects of this daily. How we wish we could take their pain away and just make everything right; but we can’t. Neither can we realistically remove all that disappoints a young person’s heart. Yet, there is something our community can do. Knowing life for many students in our Hamilton County public schools often isn’t the way it should be, we can provide them with the rare and unique opportunity to be encouraged through the study of Bible history in their public school classrooms.
Several weeks from now, my son will be thrilled to get that great big clumsy cast taken off his arm. Fortunately for him, his fracture will heal, his wrist will strengthen, and soon he’ll be enjoying life again just the way it should be. However, for those students in our public schools whose pain may never go away, and whose broken lives may never be the way they should be, our hope is that through Bible history classes they will be strengthened by the life-affirming narrative of hope and redemption that can bring love, joy, and healing to their hurting hearts.