We headed back to Ridge. We head up there once a month, fire up our grill, bring cases of Mountain Dew and feed the boys! They know when we’re coming now. They expect us. They’ve even accepted us. It’s wild because the first time we LoveBomb-ed, they weren’t sure if they could trust us. We were constantly asked, “Why are you here? Why would you feed us? What’s your angle? What’s the catch?” We answered back, “To feed you. We thought you’d be hungry. No angle. No catch.” We decided consistency was best. Some LoveBombs we are an afternoon visit or a quick moment. But, some are long lasting…relational. With these boys we knew they were used to people not being dependable…not really wanting to be a part of their world.
One boy said, “My mom won’t even have my skater friends over for dinner.”
This LoveBomb we found a couple of stragglers would wander over and strike up a conversation. They’d tell us what was going on in their lives.
One boy, came over and told us his 13 year old sister was pregnant. He said his mom wanted her to have an abortion. His sister wanted to keep the baby. When I asked if he was okay, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t care. I don’t even get along with her.” It was not hard to read past the words and see this kid did care and was worried. I don’t know if our listening made a huge difference, but maybe for a moment his weight was lightened just a bit.
Word on the street is this skate park is going to be torn down by the county. I hope that’s not true. These boys really have made it their home…they are family. I watched one older boy take time to listen and encourage a younger boy. It was beautiful to witness.
It’s about the listening, I think.
On the outside, these boys look rough, like punks. It’s easy to dismiss them, or be intimidated by them. But, they are just boys…misunderstood boys. I have four boys of my own. They don’t all communicate well. But, if you get them in a safe place, like their bedroom, in the car or at their skate park, they feel safe. Safe enough to talk, to unload. I’ve found I don’t even need to ask a lot of questions, I just need to be present, patient. Boys need safety and time to flesh out what they are thinking. Sometimes the thoughts come out staggered over a number of days…or sometimes rushing, spinning out like a damn has just been unleashed. Either way, we have to be present, patient.
LoveBomb-ing these boys @Ridge never feels like a waste of my time. In fact, it makes me appreciate time even more.