A boy with special needs and a pronounced learning disability was introduced to a young lady as his tutor at the age of six. His parents and grandparents were well off financially and were able to offer a considerable salary – if the tutor was able to make progress.
The boy’s grandmother felt it her right to interrupt the tutoring whenever she pleased, and often found the methodologies used by the young lady quite unusual.
She expressed disapproval to her daughter-in-law but agreed that a unless the boy was emotionally endangered, the trial period should continue. After only one month the boy had made remarkable improvement, and seemed to suddenly love learning. Everywhere he went with his parents he pointed out numbers and letters that he knew, surprising them with his enthusiasm, for he was normally quite reserved.
The tutor was kept on permanently and stayed with the family. She obviously loved their son greatly, and often spoke of how he reminded her of her own brother with special needs. Once or twice her brother was even brought over to visit, and indeed the family saw the similarities as well. The young lady was also seeking her undergraduate degree and left daily for that purpose. While away, she met a young man and became engaged to him. After four years as his tutor, the young lady sadly explained to the boy that she must leave him now to be married. He was ten years old and had advanced greatly in his abilities. His parents felt confident that he would be an easy charge for most tutors they found, now that he loved learning and read constantly.
The search for a new tutor took them through multiple candidates without success. His school teacher commented that she noticed a marked change in the boy and had concern about a few new habits. The family wondered what could be done. After a year with no worthwhile results, the grandmother took matters into her hands. She sought the very best tutors; and found several willing to relocate for a steep price.
The trial period for each individual seemed to draw out forever, for the boy was completely uninterested in the idea of trusting another stranger. He was like a puppet, moving his hands and nodding as if he understood, but nothing got through to his mind. He read his books and kept his routines, but seemed so different from the young man they knew. He followed instructions and did as he was told for his teachers, but he had no interest in learning it seemed.
Six months of trying and searching and the grandmother introducing one candidate after another wore the boy’s parents out. They couldn’t take the constant hope followed by the realization that again there was nothing, no response from their son. They pleaded with him to try, to give the tutor a chance. To all their efforts they met the same response, a blank stare. The doors to his soul seemed closed, and they hated to admit it.
The grandmother finally agreed that searching further was causing its own damage and let the boy rest. His counselor suggested that the stress of new people was difficult for the boy. He indicated that the boy may need more time to grieve the loss, and that after some time he would be more receptive to new faces and methods. A year passed and the boy seemed a little better, but not at all the person they had fond memories of. The parents decided to try again, but realized quickly their son retreated internally as soon as the first tutor was brought to the home.
The grandmother sought and found the young lady, now married and well adjusted to her life. They met at a café and over lunch discussed solutions to the difficult problem of her grandson. The young lady was unsure what to suggest, for she had watched her brother flounder and withdraw as well when he was uncomfortable. It was her love for him that had motivated her to start teaching him and working with him when she came home from school each night. The progress he had made under her patient and consistent efforts had startled her parents and was the reason they cancelled tutoring.
The grandmother shook her head, there seemed no answer. She had hoped that there was a tutor used by her brother that she could recommend, and was greatly disappointed to hear there wasn’t. They parted company on good terms and with heavy hearts.
A year went by and the boy showed difficulty with his new school and puberty. He began acting out and had his parents were very concerned. The grandmother called the tutor and asked her advice. She offered to visit, to everyone’s great relief. When the doorbell rang, the parents tried not to smile, for they were very excited to see their son’s reaction. As the young woman was shown in, the boy’s face lit up.
He jumped from the sofa and ran to his tutor, shrieking and clapping. Six months later the young lady and her husband had agreed to move into the guest house and were just settling in. Already the improvement in their son was worth three houses to his parents. The tutor’s brother was welcomed as well, for he often visited his sister when he wasn’t working. Unconventional circumstances aside, it felt like a family.
Moral of the Story:
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
In Matthew 2:7 we see a moment the wise men had waited for. To be on the road so long, encountering challenges they never expected had to be frustrating. They were determined, but how to find the child? At the first moment they saw the star again, we read they rejoiced and not just a little. This story tried to parallel the moment of joy when someone long missed was finally seen again. It is painful at times to wait for what we really want. A parent who loses contact with a child or a friend who moves away can tear us up inside.
Recently I was reminded of both these losses and how nothing can replace the hole left. The star the wise men, astrologers who knew stars very well (perhaps so bright it shone in the day) immediately recognized. This was the same star they had seen in the East, and I can imagine it wasn’t a quiet clap that followed! Sad and somber as those moments of loss are, they remind us of what separation means. When I turn my back on God I experience that, even if I don’t realize it. I love that there is celebration when I return, and such a warm welcome. Its as if the Lord celebrates when I return rather than chastise me for leaving. Oh to stay constant and not stray….