It was a wild day in the 4th and 5th grade lunchroom. Twenty of the Kanakuk Link-year students joined the Lunch Buddy program. These college-aged Kanakuk team members united together to face the unchartered territory known as pre-middle school lunch hour. This age child can be “too cool” for coaching and parental guidance. Peer pressure is alive and well. Cliques have formed. Walls are often built and standing tall.
But there is something magical about a college student connecting with a pre-teen. Only a fellow video game player can jump to his feet and mimic a move done on Minecraft. And only a college student would understand and not correct when a boy shares that he drinks Monster Energy drinks when he’s really tired. But only a Link-Year Student would be able to turn the conversation:
“I had one of those once. But mostly I drink water. I drink so much water…I
think I might grow a hump!”
A small huddle of 5th grade boys had gathered. The statement sparked a smile on one and the look of confusion on the others.
The smiling student blurted out,
“Ha! LIKE A CAMEL! I GET IT!”
And the link was made through laughter.
The Principal said it was the first time there was a line of kids asking to be assigned a Lunch Buddy. It was a beautiful atmosphere of positive energy. Eavesdropping in on the conversations one could hear stories about angry girlfriends, boys who just wouldn’t pay them any attention, a basketball game loss, a flunked test…even two best friends in a quarrel.
This group of Link-students are leaving soon. They will take a break from Lunch Buddy until later this spring. Some are going to missions in Ireland and Fiji. One is heading to the Bahamas. All will enter the mission field upon graduation. They are great “kids” and this day – they helped great “kids.” And when the lunch hour was over the Link-students gathered outside and prayed for their Lunch Buddies.
Sometimes we pray because a child is discovered that is hungry, scared, cold or dirty. Those are big reasons to take a knee and clasp hands. But the heart of a child that is simply sad, worried, deeply thinking, frustrated, or crying for praise, is still a heart loved by the Father. And whenever one stops in the busy-ness of the day and touches that heart with kindness and prayer, there is love. And that is the reason for it all. We are all linked by love.