Youth Group was wonderful tonight. When the kids sat on big comfy couches arranged in a square, Pamela looked around and asked, "Where's Amy?" The other students looked at Amy in surprise because Pamela does not usually acknowledge anyone. Amy smiled and bobbed her head gently with attitude because she knew to be singled out by Pamela was special.
Every week, the class warms up with an affirmation exercise. A student draws the name of a boy and a girl in the class. Then they must come up with positive adjectives that describe the person to form an acronym of their name. When they drew Pamela's name, a little knot tied up my stomach. Outside of Amy, Pamela does not really interact much with the other kids, even though she faithfully attends Youth Group every Sunday night. We have only lived here for a little over a year, and, to people who were born and raised in this town, Pamela is still the new kid on the block, especially because we homeschool. I knew she had two allies, Amy and a girl who works as a paid ABA therapist for some autistic twins. I worried that silence and awkward pauses would fill the room as kids struggled to find affirming things to say about Pamela.
I was pleased with their efforts for even some of the more reticent boys came up with kind words to describe Pamela:
P - Pretty in pink, positive
A - Awesome
M - Magnificent
E - Excitable, excited
L - Lovable, lovely
A - Adorable
The pastor usually rewrites the affirmations neatly and posts them in the window that week. I promise to snap a picture on Wednesday and post it.