Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: QUESTION (S) (05/30/19)
- TITLE: Why?
By Stephen Kimball
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“That was the school…Steven got in a fight; we have to go get him.”
“What?! Is he okay? What happened?”
“Apparently he has a bloody nose. That’s all I know.”
After a call to my office, we headed out. Steven was about to turn twelve and had never been aggressive toward anyone. So what in the world happened, we wondered aloud, as we drove.
We entered the office and sat down. My wife was horrified that we were here for this at all but when Steven rounded the corner with tissue stuffed up his nose and blood all over his t-shirt, I thought she was going to pass out. Just at that moment, the secretary came over to usher us into the assistant principal’s office. The other boy was already in the room with his mother. After introductions, the assistant principal, Mr. Pike, began.
“Who would like to go first?”
Steven volunteered. “Trevor was picking on Jeffery again today in PE. I told him to knock it off—twice! Then, when we were waiting in line for the water fountain, Trevor kicked him in the back of the leg and he fell on the ground. When I saw that I jumped on Trevor. That’s when he punched me in the face. He’s lucky Coach Sanders broke us up, or he would have a bloody nose too!”
“Now, now” Mr. Pike interrupted. “That’s enough.”
My wife just buried her head in her hands.
Trevor muddied the waters with his version but there was no denying a fight had taken place, so it didn’t take long for Mr. Pike to pronounce his judgement. “Fighting, for any reason, is against school policy— you will both serve ten-day suspensions beginning today.”
When we got home, we sent Steven to his room to “think” about the situation. After a while, I joined our young son for a little heart to heart.
Once again, Steven began the conversation. “You said I should stick up for those who can’t help themselves. That’s all I was doing, dad. I shouldn’t have got suspended—he should have!”
“Life isn’t always fair Steven. I’m proud of you for sticking up for your friend but you probably could have handled that differently. Now you have to pay the price for breaking the rules.”
“I want you to ask yourself an important question. God is in control of everything, right? So why might God allow something like this to happen?”
“I don’t know… maybe so I can learn to not get in fights?”
“That is a very good observation. God often allows difficulty into our lives in order to teach us and to mold us into a better image of himself so that others will be better able see Him in us.
Or, sometimes, God uses difficulty to reveal an area of disobedience, so we can own up to it and ask for forgiveness.”
It took a few seconds, but staring intently at the floor in front of him, Steven finally mumbled, “yea…maybe.”
“You know how you expect me ‘to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?’ Actually, I didn’t jump on Trevor like I said I did. When he bent over to taunt my friend, I grabbed his underwear and gave him a big wedgie, like uncle Tommy said he used to do to you when you were kids. That’s when he turned around and punched me in the nose.”
I had to bite my lip to repress the smile that was trying to break through.
“I didn’t mention it because I thought you would be mad. I’m sorry dad.”
I leaned in and gave him a hug, “I am glad you told me the whole truth now Steven but need I remind you that I hated it when my brother did that to me. I think you might have an apology to make to someone else.”
He squinted at me and cocked his head to the side at the thought. “Okay dad, no more wedgies, and no more fighting and I will think about that apology… I promise. Now, can I play the x-box?”
“No chance… you only have ten days to think about that apology, no time to lose.”
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