I was walking through the hallways at a school were I was employed as a counselor, when a student stopped me on my way to the lunchroom. I had never met with this student before but I had seen him in passing. He was a friendly child who appeared happy but I knew that his parents had previously talked to another counselor about children bullying him. I hear him call my name and when I turned around I was not prepared for what this student was about to ask me. He said "Do you think I am going to hell?" I was extremely caught off guard with this question as I was headed to the lunchroom trying to remember what the lunch menu was for that day. Scrambling in my mind I said to him "What makes you ask that question?" He then said other students made fun of him for wearing a scarf and painting his nails.
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He mentioned that he had spoke to his counselor about this so I asked him what his counselor told him to do. His response still resonates with me today. The counselor told me if I dressed normal then kids wouldn't make fun of me. The world is pulling our children and families in so many different directions to their idea of "normal". Our children are still innocent and it is those that surround them that are in charge of building them up...not tearing them down. There will be different view points on this, but with personal beliefs set aside I wanted that student to know he had value. My response was simple, "Sweetheart, I am so glad that God did not give me the responsibility or anyone else to choose who goes to hell. If you want to find out for yourself, I encourage you to see what the bible says."
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Some solutions are not black and white.
We may have to find wisdom in the shades of grey.