Memorable laughs and occasional tears

Days on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus have memorable laughs and occasional tears. Today was a day for grieving, as we got word that the mother of four of our students died much too young. We are all lifting them up in our thoughts and prayers.

The boys’ aunt notified our family service counselors ahead of time, so Scott and Karen gathered the boys after school for a family meeting. An older brother, who lives out of state, was on the phone to take part in the conversation as well.  After they had time to let the sad news sink in, I was called to join in for some prayers.

Dave, one of our Native American Studies Specialists, brought in a hand drum, and sang a Lakota prayer song to comfort and strengthen the family. There aren’t a lot of words at times like this, only a caring presence. Karen rounded up some gift cards to the local McDonald’s  so the auntie and boys could go out for supper and some time together before parting. I’m sure the days to come will be tough on the boys. Our circle of support will try to walk with them along the difficult journey.

On a more joyful note, I stopped by the school gym later to watch our 1st – 3rd grade boys learning about wrestling. Two of the houseparents were helping Mark, our recreation specialist teach not only about rules and techniques, but about sportsmanship. The houseparents also appreciated the fact the boys could burn off energy in a constructive way, hoping they’d be calmer when they arrived home to settle in for the evening.