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Can a rock n roll guitar save the life of a kid in trouble?

Our celebration of kids on the Fort Peck Reservation is only a few weeks away on August 4-6. Please enjoy this blog about a special type of kid who the world will hear about in the future in a positive way.

Love Has No Color gets its fair share of calls, letters, and emails from people who have been touched without efforts. One such communique comes from a teacher on the Reservation. One of her students couldn’t be reached by anyone and was losing altitude; a fate all too common on the reservation. With behavioral issues, complete lack of respect, and defiance for teachers and classmates, this young kid was headed down the wrong road. He had no hobbies, few friends, no passion and no purpose in life. His home life was in shambles as well: no father, very little money, and he was involved with a rough crowd.

He goes to one of the smaller schools and was recently drawn into one of the tiny classrooms by a musical racket being made by some kids attempting to play some of the instruments that LHNC donated last year. He walked in and was drawn to one of the guitars. It was the iconic Telecaster Fender electric guitar that just seemed to captivate him. Even though he’d never played a note in his life, he asked if he could hold it. He waited patiently for other kids to take their turn and then held it and promptly turned himself into a rock star performing for a sold out stadium. His scowl was temporarily replaced by a smile.

He asked the teacher if he could take the guitar home with him. She said no, but when she saw how much he wanted it, she made a bargain with him: get your grades and attendance up, lose the attitude and I’ll teach you how to play that guitar. If not, no deal. The kid didn’t like the proverbial strings that were attached, but he had to learn to play that guitar. It started out slowly and he got frustrated very easily, but he’s been keeping up his end of the bargain. Recently, he asked again if he could take the guitar home. He has been keeping his end of the bargain for months, but she couldn’t help but wonder if he was planning on pawning it as soon as he left the school. So she made another bargain, this time with herself; if he did sell it, she’d replace it herself, but she needed to show this kid some trust. Monday morning, he waltzed into the classroom and handed the Telecaster to her with a big grin on his face. The teacher couldn’t help but grin herself as she took the guitar back. This kid is going to be alright, she thought.

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