Wednesday, October 13

Just What Do You Do When You Are Told These Things?

Ok, hold on to something. I’m about to say something about myself: I teach Sunday school Yup, I’ve been a volunteer Sunday school teacher for 3 years now. And I teach 6th grade.

Two Sundays ago, I happen to sit beside a current student, Z, who happens to be the brother of a student I had in my first year of teaching. I asked Z, “How’s your brother B?” And Z said, in a matter-of-fact way, “He’s got cancer.”

I don’t know if the weight of my shock showed on my face, but there definitely was a pregnant pause after that. My shock was for two reasons:

  • Shock at learning a kid I actually know (this is the first one for me) has cancer
  • Shock at seeing how stoic Z was when he said that his brother has cancer. I don’t know if he is aware of how bad that illness can be. Or if he was just acting strong. I was trying to see if he was teary-eyed or if he needed a hug. Or maybe, I just wanted to give him a hug. A hug for him and his brother.

Then last Sunday, after the mandatory Sunday school mass, while I and the kids were on our way out of church, my student Y suddenly turned around and told me, “My uncle raped me.” Again, I was shocked and searched my student’s face. Y looks like a very emotionally healthy kid. Always cheerful, always lively. She doesn’t look like the sexually abused little girls I see in Law and Order. So, I was trying to see if she made it up and was just pulling my leg.

“Does your mom know,” I asked.

And Y said, “Yes.”

“Do you want to talk about it,” I mumbled.

“No,” she said.

“You sure,” I followed up.

“Yes,” and she flashed a sweet smile.

“You ok,” I just had to ask.

“Yes.” And she ran away.

Now, I was thinking ...

I want to send a card to B and a card to his parents as well. But then again, doing so feels a little awkward. Some people just don’t want to be reminded of the situation they are in. The cards might, instead of cheering them up, pull them down again. 

And Y? Should I talk to her mom about it? But what if Y was just making it up? If Y wasn’t lying about this, can she be lying about telling her mom? What if Y’s mom doesn’t know? Shouldn’t her mom know? Was Y actually asking me to tell her mom?

Questions, questions. Questions I need to answer before Sunday comes. What do you think?


HiddenWriter. said...

Reading this post was truly unnerving for me, so I can't imagine how it felt for you. Here's what I think you should do:
- Z may be too young to understand how serious cancer can be, so perhaps you can contact his parents and offer your best wishes towered their older sons health.
- The fact that Y told you about it at all has to be noted. You should get in touch with her mother and make sure she is aware of the situation. If it was made up then she shouldn't be thinking of such twisted lies. Either way, talk to her mother, she definitely needs to know what's going on.

Sorry for the super long post, and if my advice sucked then I apologise! Good luck with dealing with this and thanks for checking out my blog! :)


The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

Well, whatever you do, you should pray about it first (although doubtless you already have).

I think sending a card would be a good and positive thing to do. However the parents feel initially, they’ll know they’ve got your support, which they might need later on.

As for the little girl, it is very difficult, but, I think it’s a question of what if it is true? Obviously an extremely sensitive issue, but I think you should speak to her mother. Easier said than done, I know.

Whatever you do, good luck, and let us know if you can.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Anonymous said...

It should feel nice that you are in a position that youngsters feel like they can talk to you. It is so important that they have someone they feel they can talk to.
If it were me I would address the rape allegation right away. I don't know if as a Sunday school teacher you had to agree to report but most people in your position do.
You might wait a minute on the cancer thing. Perhaps a card for the younger who is scared and probably not getting so much attention at home since the news.
IMHO ~Detaylle

SAM said...

Thanks everyone for your advices. Really appreciate them. Tomorrow's a big day. Will let you know what I decided to do. I vacillate, a lot! So, my decision now may not be my decision tomorrow :-) Thanks again!