He was brought to the office by a tia. His head was down, he was calm, he was respectful. This was a vast contrast to his behavior only a few minutes before. He was there because moments before he was out of control. He had bitten, screamed, and punched. He had attacked and lost control of himself. This was not the first time. Frustration was a part of his young life. Losing control was how he coped. Attacking others was how he survived.
As long as he could remember, this is how he lived. At seven years of age, he carried the weight of the world. He was his brother’s protector and provider. Abandoned at an early age, he did the best he could. Scrounging for food, fighting to live, struggling to exist. It’s all he knows. Fits of wild rage kept them safe. Biting was his only defense. That, and scaring others away. Nobody bothers wild animals. Nor wild little boys.
Since coming to Shadow, he’s had to learn new ways. But new ways are foreign. He’s still learning how to properly care for himself. He’s learning to bathe, to clean, to eat with utensils. His table manners and behaviors make him the target of harassment from the other boys in the house. He still eats with his hands and covers himself with whatever is served. The others can’t help themselves when they see the food running down his face. As it drips off his chin and runs down his arms, they can’t help but comment. And this infuriates him.
And so it was this day when he was brought to the office. That morning, with the house parents on rest, the other boys attacked with their words. He attacked with his anger. But by the time he entered the office, he was remorseful and repentant. He knows he is different, but he wants to be the same. He knows he has a lot to learn, but he knows things they don’t. He wants to change, but he struggles letting go. He wants to trust, but he doesn’t know what it looks like. He wants to eat with a fork, but he doesn’t know how. He wants to fit in, but instead acts out.
After talking with him, one thing was obvious. He was frustrated. He was frustrated with how the boys treated him during breakfast, and he was frustrated that his papá wasn’t there to defend and help him. You see, he quickly adapted to not being the man of the house. He quickly fell in love with his new papá. And he quickly adapted to being the cared-for, instead of the care-giver. He missed his new protector, and in his absence reverted to his old self. It was a natural act. He went in to survival mode again.
Once we realized the source of his frustration, it was obvious as what to do. We addressed the boys in the house and what was expected of them, and we found another father figure for the distraught boy. While his papá is gone on rest, our little guy will spend time with our gate guard Antonio. They will work together at things that will not frustrate our boy. They will talk about boy things and boy ways. But more importantly, they will develop a relationship. For a little boy in need of a dad, the more relationships with men that he can develop, the more this little boy will trust. Our prayer is that some day, when the boy becomes a man, he will be the man that God created him to be. Learning how to eat with utensils is important. But more than that, learning how to be a Godly man is our goal for this little wild boy.