I didn't really, but this boy wanted to fight me. I'm talking about the boy I mentioned here, who I'm not letting come back to youth group for a while. Oz tag went really well yesterday We had about 12 locals showing up to play, and one boy I hadn't met before. As the numbers grow you have to step up with the behaviour management. I had to send people off for racist remarks or physical threats, but the vibe was pretty good and the relationships are growing.
Anyway, as I was walking a couple of the kids home, said boy comes running up with his friends behind him threatening to punch one of the boys I was with. I had to step in between them for my friends safety, and suddenly he turns to me and we had one of those "eye to eye, stand real close to each other" moments, and not the romantic kind. It was all a bit surreal. There I am, face to face with this kid in this back street in Redfern at night, while he makes racial slurs at me, calling me white boy, and urging me to go home to my own country (insert many 'f' words in between), cars are having to slow down as they come by because there's all these kids on the street, some are jumping up and down yelling "punch him! punch him!", someone is throwing around this bag of mince meat (don't ask), and I'm standing there with my phone in hand ready to call the police as I tell him he doesn't want to get in any more trouble, all the time in bewilderment thinking "This kid is in year 7?!". It settled down after a while, and obviously he wasn't going to do anything, so he muttered a few abusive words and walked home.
But it is so bizarre, what were you doing in year 7? Did you have a curfew with the police?
I just remembered this morning, when my wife and I first met this boy in scripture when he was in year 4, he threatened to punch her in the face. He was also really inquisitive about God and asking really good questions. The other sad thing is he was one of the smartest kids in his grade, getting into the 'Opportunity Class'. It's real sad.
So he won't be coming back to Oz Tag for a while now, it's just too dangerous for the other kids. Come to think of it, in the years to come as they get older it's going to become much more dangerous for me. The more and more I'm with these kids and I see them on their turf, I realise how much inner city work is cross-cultural mission. Firstly, these kids aren't growing up with any of the inherent Christian values that most in Austrlia do, and secondly, how much if these kids are going to take a stand for Jesus it's really going to cost them with their peers. I couldn't imagine how to cope with such peer pressure and violent surroundings.
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