I sat on his bed as he opened up to me and shared his very tender feelings. His day hadn’t gone well, and finally, after 10:00 at night, he was ready to talk. It nearly broke my heart to hear him say, “I just don’t feel smart. I don’t feel like I am worth anything. I wonder, ‘Why me?’ and what I am on the earth for.”
We spoke heart-to-heart for quite a while, working through his feelings. Of course, I already knew much of how he felt, but hearing this little boy—almost eleven years old—express it with so much sadness reminded me of how fragile my “tough guy” really is. He needed caring and reassurance, and my irritation was replaced with love.