“We must be guardians of a space that allows students to breathe and be curious and explore the world and be who they are without suffocation. They deserve one place where they can rumble with vulnerability and their hearts can exhale. . . . we should never underestimate the benefit to a child of having a place to belong—even one—where they can take off their armor. It can and often does change the trajectory of their life.”
—Brene Brown, Dare to Lead
Malee is four years old and lives with her grandma. We often see her playing near her house. Most of the time she is alone because there is no one around to watch over her. Her parents had to leave the village to find work. Her grandma does her best to care for her, but she also works outside the home. Sometimes one of Malee’s cousins comes over to watch her, but not very often. Like many children in the farming communities of northeast Thailand, Malee is often neglected. Her parents and relatives are doing the best they can to provide for her physical needs, but they can’t meet her emotional needs because they aren’t able to be there for her.
So, like many of the kids we work with, Malee wears a suit of armor around her heart. In a world of uncertainty, a world without appropriate boundaries, her armor is the only thing that helps her feel secure. From the outside, that armor often looks like stubbornness and disobedience. But we know that her behavior is really a cry for help. Malee just wants to feel safe and loved.
Please continue to pray that, through our learning center, we can help change the trajectory of Malee’s life.