I love my three children beyond measure, and I continue to grow to love our Oneida students in the same way. I really do believe in my heart that I would take a bullet for any Oneida kid, just the same as I would for my own children.
My daughter recently appeared in my office one day after school, and it was obvious she was distraught. She had recently been rejected for something that she wanted to be a part of. My children have experienced other disappointments and even rejections in their short lives, but this one seemed different. Perhaps it was because I could see how hurt my daughter was, or perhaps it was something else.
Nonetheless, my first inclination was to rescue my daughter. After speaking with my wife and seeing how much she hurt for our daughter, I was even more inclined to act. After all, I am the school’s president and could rescue her should I so choose to do so, right? I didn’t overstep my bounds, but rather tried to simply act as a loving parent and to use the moment to teach.
Reflecting upon my daughter’s rejection led me to think about the rejection many of our students at Oneida have experienced in their young lives. The day after my daughter’s tough day, I watched our students pile out of chapel, and I was reminded just how much hurt, pain and rejection many of them have experienced.
Adults often make poor choices and kids are usually left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. Sometimes kids make poor choices as well and then must deal with the consequences of those choices.
While my daughter’s recent rejection was difficult to accept, I do realize her rejection pales in comparison to many of the things our Oneida students have experienced. I wish I could rescue all of our students from their hurt and pain, but I know that I can’t. I do, however, know the One who can. Jesus is able, ready and willing to rescue us all. As we celebrate Easter, we should be reminded that it is the resurrection that rescues us from sin.
It is my job as a parent to help my daughter overcome her recent rejection, and it is the calling of our faculty and staff to help our students to overcome as well. Graduation is fast approaching and we have plans to send 56 graduates off to hopefully engage the culture for Christ. I want to invite you to come on May 14 at 1 p.m. and be a part of this special day of celebration, this day of overcoming rejection and challenges.
Call me any time if you think you would like to come. Your love, prayers and partnership with the Oneida ministry have enabled us to help our young people overcome trials and rejection, and for that we are grateful.
Larry Gritton is the president of Oneida Baptist Institute.