Whether this was God’s reason for me to go or not, I did learn a lot of lessons in Georgia. Here are some of the ones I could come up with:
1. Tae Kwon Do lessons are a great idea. Watching my kids take lessons allowed me to protect myself from Margarita. Having a black belt also allowed my little Goose to protect herself. There was this boy whose parents ran the house next to ours. He was the most un-mothered child I have ever encountered, which was sad since his mother’s occupation was to be a mother. He was not a big boy, but he was big compared to the Goose, and he picked on her constantly. I had told the Beetle, who was a head and shoulders above this kid, not to let it happen, and as long as the Beetle was around, the boy left the Goose alone. However, on the Saturday before the Margarita incident, the Goose was out playing on the playground across from our house. The boy came out and was playing alongside her. He shoved her, and she told him to quit. He shoved her again, and she told him that if he touched her one more time, she would take care of it. He touched her again. The Goose took care of it alright, by flipping the child over her shoulder and onto his back on the ground. He got up and ran. While I was slightly horrified that she had done this, I was also extremely proud. Those martial arts classes were worth the time and money!
2. A children’s home is not always a ministry. On my second day of training, the social worker told me that I would be much better off if I could learn to treat this as a job instead of a ministry. I had no idea what she meant, because I was there to save the children. In hindsight, I understand. Depending on how a home is run, it may or may not be a ministry. Plus, not everyone can be saved. They have to be willing to be helped before you can help them.
3. Sometimes a big attitude combined with a neck sway goes a long way. This was a lesson the Goose learned, but I didn’t quite master it. Ask her to do it for you some time. She can move her neck with attitude better than anyone I know.
4. I now know what the Stanky Leg dance is. We were in traffic at a red light, and a guy got out of his car and started dancing the Stanky Leg. The girls in the bus with me stood up and started doing it with him. I don’t have nearly enough rhythm to do it, but I at least know what it is!
5. I am tougher than I ever thought, and I am a survivor. You really don’t want to mess with me.
6. You have to watch out for the Po-po. They might be after you.
7. Some people might see kindness of weakness, but I choose to be kind. Being hateful and damaging others will only create more crazies in the world. The girls I encountered were crazy because of the things that had been done to them. Imagine how loving they could have been if the world had been kinder when they were young.
8. Not everyone who goes to church tells the truth.
9. Sometimes, no matter how big the plans, you have to cut your losses and get out while you can.
10. Bugs that get in pasta float when you cook them.
11. No matter how much you are tempted, never color your hair with a Crayola marker. You won’t like the results. -Al