By Stephen Ahn (Outreach Worker – Kingston-Galloway)

I want to talk about a kid I have gotten to know over the past month at KIC. His name is Makao. He is in grade 4 and he loves to play basketball. He eats, sleeps and breathes basketball; when he is not on the court. But that is probably the only positive thing I could have said about Makao during the first week of programs.  It seemed that he was constantly getting into fights with others.  I knew that I had to give this kid another chance before categorizing him as a “troublemaker”.

In the following weeks, I noticed that Makao was actually not the instigator of most fights. Rather, he simply did not know how to control his anger when he was aggravated by other children. And to make matters worse, leaders (including myself) would often assume the blame lay more heavily upon Makao, resulting in his lashing out and rebellion. It dawned on me that what he needed was more encouragement and positive reinforcement.

So I tried to put this into practice the next time he got into a fight. To be honest, it was a lot more difficult than I had thought it would be. But it was worth it!  I was able to see drastic improvement in his response and attentiveness the rest of the day.

During the first couple of weeks, I had failed to show grace to Makao. However, through my experience with him, I was reminded that the very nature of grace itself does not require any merit or entitlement. Grace is grace because it is something that is not deserved. Likewise, I am to show grace and love to Makao through my words of encouragement. I believe that when I show grace to him that he has great potential to improve this year.