The following reflection is based on my experience with an organization called Project Transformation, held every June and July in a downtown church to help children maintain reading proficiency over the sumer. I have participated the past two years, but because of the covid virus books were taken to children's homes and families were encouraged to listen to their child/children read. The reflection is from my interaction with a young student in July, 2019. Project Transformation is one of my favorite ministries.
Love (Mark 10:13-14)
When I was growing up, few books were in our home. A small bookcase held my father's books from college and graduate school. I received my first book on my sixth birthday from a colleague of my father's. I went to the library for the first time when I was 13. My mother considered reading a waste of time and I never saw my mother or father read.
When I heard of Project Transformation, I knew I wanted to volunteer. My lack of books from childhood, generated compassion for children who also may not have books available or someone to read to them.
I have read with children who were eager to come and others who did not want to come with me. Despite their feelings, I used the 45 minutes to get to know them, boost their confidence as individuals and readers, and listen to each child read. A lot of love can be poured into a child in 45 minutes.
One day I read with an eleven-year-old boy. I asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied without hesitation, "I want to serve in the military." I said, "You will be a great soldier. You can do whatever you want to do in life." He smiled and nodded his head.
He was an excellent reader with good comprehension. When our time ended, I ask, "Do you remember what I told you a few minutes ago?" He grinned and said, "I can do anything I want to do." I confirmed, "I want you to carry those words with you always." He answered, "I will."
Although I never worked with him again during the summer, I pray those words of belief and encouragement will stay with him.
Prayer: God when we work with your children, help us pour your love into each one. Amen.