It was the second session of our Spring/Summer basketball season in the neighborhood. Six boys showed up at first. Not enough for full court five-on-five. So one of our long-time participants and a natural leader left briefly to recruit some of his other friends. Five older boys showed up along with a neighbor dad, all of whom had serious basketball skills. Game on.
We played two games. Serious competition and fun, as well. Good attitudes. No conflict. There was one issue which my fellow coach addressed. The stuff of real life with young people influenced by the culture. He handled it discreetly and well. I expect no further problems of that nature. If they happen, then I will take appropriate measures.
Doing life with young people cross-culturally and in an urban setting necessitates setting boundaries and expectations while doing so graciously. Kindness with the ability to be firm where necessary.
There is an ebb and flow to urban life in the outer reaches of Lents neighborhood. With the days growing longer and summer on the horizon, the community is awakening, becoming more accessible to conversation, shared experiences, and new friendships. I intend to continue being present with them as a fellow sojourner in the margins. That’s where my heart is, where my dreams inspire my imagination, and where I find joy despite the challenges. In the margins. Where families struggle to make a better life for themselves outside the notice or concern of the larger culture.