Friday, July 19, 2019

WHY FOSTERING IS LIKE THE INTERNET

I used to go to Sunday school when I was little and found out after a couple of years why my parents - who doubted the God thing themselves  - sent me. I'll save that bit to last, it's quite juicy.

Only, I remember exactly where I was when I too began to doubt the whole God thing. I was in church. At Sunday School.

A guest vicar got up to give us a sermon and he started it like this:

"Hello children. I'm sure you all have bicycles. Well in a way, Jesus is like a bicycle..."

And on he went. And on.

And on.

His thing of liking something to something it clearly is very unlike began the thought in me that maybe it's down to me to come up with a code to live by, and St Peter can fact-check me at the gates. And basically that's how I get by.

The guest vicar also turned me off poor metaphors. But there are some I like, such as this one:

"Fostering is a bit like the internet."

As in;

Sometimes you try to log onto the internet and can't get a connection. Or else it's painfully slow.

So you restart. 

No better.

You switch off and leave it for a minute.

No better.

You go to Settings and check your connection. You re-select your wi-fi code. You check your phone and it's not connected either. You turn off your router and turn it on again. Your phone is back on wi-fi but the PC ain't. Hmmm. You go back into settings and try...anything.

Then...suddenly...for no apparent reason...it's working again!!!

You don't know which fix fixed it or even if it was none of them...who cares? It's FIXED, so on you go!

Same with fostering.

Your foster child has a thing about not saying please or thank you. It's no big deal but it might serve them well to fix it. So you try mentioning it. You try asking for the magic words. You try to get them to practice saying "Can I ...please". You offer quaint shortcuts "You could say "Ta" instead of "Thank you". 

You keep at it. Then one day, out of the blue, you put an apple of the sofa arm next to where they're engrossed in Fortnite and say "That'll hold you until teatime", and  as you're leaving the room you hear something. Something that came from the child. What was it?

Some sort of grunt. It wasn't a word as such; if it was a word it was spelled something like "Gnu".

It was a tiny, grudging, embryonic, barely viable...

"Thank you"

You don't know why, when, how, or even if your efforts have been successful. All that matters is that the child has come on. Just like with the internet, you simply breathe a small sigh of satisfaction and get on with things. 

Like I often say to myself "Ain't fostering grand!"

ps Why did my God-doubting parents send me to Sunday School? Well, one fine Sunday the School decided we'd all go for a walk, so we paired up and crocodile-marched down the road, round the corner and straight past my house. My parents bedroom faced the street and as I looked up I noticed that their bedroom curtains were drawn shut. This could only mean that my mum had gone down with one of her 48 hour migraines. The other explanation was unthinkable.
When I returned home I found my mum in the kitchen singing along to a Jim Reeves number on the radio. I asked her how she was, she replied something like;

"Fantastic! Never felt better!"

Aaagggh! To discover your doubt about God AND that your parents are nothing more or less than human flesh and blood, all thanks to Sunday School, is a big journey.

Maybe Jesus IS like a bicycle..?

pps, I never told my parents about the Sunday School trip past our house, that would have been wrong.




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