He is 15 years old and was brought to us from a distant place referred by the Child Welfare Committee – a juridical body that has the care of the young especially those rescued from dangerous situations. That was about three months ago. Let us call him Param which is not his real name. His father is a drunk and his step-mother drove him out of the house. That is when he was rescued by officials. He was placed in government institutions without much sign of progress in his attitude toward life in general. He was angry and impatient. Finally they brought him to us. I am happy that they did so.
Param was quiet and merged into the community of forty four others who are from diverse backgrounds and most hailing from disintegrated family backgrounds. He joined the others in attending regular classes in a nearby school. Though there was nothing outstanding about him, Param carried out the chores assigned to him with diligence.
About two weeks ago I heard something that shocked me. Param had stolen a bar of iron ( some renovation is going on here) and exchanged it for two packets of Indian cigarette ‘ beedi’ which is basically rolled tobacco flakes. He was addicted to tobacco! Then one night he disappeared! The boys combed the compound and found him hiding in a corner. They brought him to me and at this point I spoke to him gently and told him to pray for a while in the prayer room. He did spend some time in the room.
Param met me the next day and told me that he wanted to leave. “ I am happy here but want to be free to do what I want. I want to discontinue my studies”, he said. I tried my best to dissuade him from his decision. Finally at his insistence I had to inform the govt. authorities about his decision. Meanwhile the other kids were praying for him. At no point of time was he punished or made to feel more miserable. Then something very amazing happened. Param expressed his desire to stay on! Loving kindness, patience and prayer worked wonders.