I'll finally wrap up the story I began here, and continued here.
First, the conclusion of the scripture union wildness and broken pillow:
I spoke to the kids about being respectful and all that stuff, they were very receptive and understanding.
Now on to the conclusion of the Youth Club spear-throwing event. I gathered the huge sticks and walked into the church hall, gathering kids along the way. I announced that all the games were to stop and everyone gather around.
As I stood there with about 10 of those sticks, almost trembling from frustration, I just started talking. Not yelling, but talking, in the most stern voice I've ever heard come out of my mouth. I mentioned all the negative aspects of their actions, the worse things that could have happened, (injuring someone in the yard or house if they broke a window) and the legal trouble they could be in if someone pressed charges (I spoke of all the most horrible things that could have happened to get them shaking in their wellies). I finished up by talking about how disappointed I was and that I expected the guilty parties to apologize, and that they would be completely forgiven.
As I spoke, I looked out at their faces and realized they were seriously scared of me, in a good way. They were all standing, and I don't think I saw much movement at all, at times I wondered if they were still breathing.
I finished and told them Youth Club was ending early. After most people had left, one boy came up to me, confessed, and apologized. During the week, the three other boys apologized as well. I made sure they knew they were forgiven and discussed when we would go to the ladies house so they could apologize to her.
A few realizations came out of these happenings:
-It wasn't anger that was so overwhelming when I first found out about the spear-throwing, but disappointment. I was so disappointed because I care for them so much and want to see them grow and mature, especially in their understanding of who God is and what he desires for their lives; and I don't want to see them screw up. (I also realize how much like a parent I sound)
-When the boys apologized, and when I found out other kids were encouraging them to do so and expressing their concern for what happened, I found myself feeling a huge sense of pride. I was proud of the positive changes that we're witnessing in these kids lives; not as a result of anything we've done, but because of God's love working in their hearts.
-In hindsight, we're realizing we needed something like this to happen to secure an understanding of the role of authority we have to play in their lives. I think up until this, the kids were unclear on how to view us: equal? older friend? authority figure? Now they have a better understanding of our relationship with them: we are their friend, but we are also in a position of authority and we will enforce the rules and encourage them to do what is right.
-We had a great opportunity to display what forgiveness looks like in real life.
-I am so grateful to have an amazing husband who is a fabulous teammate. It was confirmed yet again that there's no way I could do this without him.