“Peace comes from within. Seek it from yourself.”
(My most recent fortune cookie. Such wisdom).
Those words have been reverberating through my head, as I’ve spent the last three weeks working with rowdy middle schoolers.
A few thoughts:
I am going to remember just the look every thirteen year old girl/boy has given me in the last few weeks when I hit the “maybe-it’s-time-for-kids-do-I-really-want-them?” age (which may never hit, after these weeks).
Also, if I do have kids, I will seriously consider living close to their grandparents to have constant, easy access to babysitters who will adore them.
It really is a great job–even though hammering through the wall that surrounds our urban youth is no easy feat–and most of the kids are awesome.
Right, I forgot that I’m going with the theory that everyone has a decent inner core. Sometimes it’s buried deeply…like the kid who made the sweetest 11-year-old girl ever cry…but it’s still there.
Yes, I’m being an optimist. But our goal is to assume that all of these kids are going to graduate high school and go on to college, and often our after-school program is keeping them off the streets, keeping them away from their fascination with fire (which, according to my boyfriend, is a natural interest for a 12-year-old boy, but it still totally freaks me out) and in some cases, keeping them out of gangs.
So an optimistic frame of mind is sort of a prerequisite for the job.
I’m getting decent at applying this mind set to the kids–and some of them make it really easy, like the Somalian refugee who, despite his learning disability and permanent growth stunt leftover from extreme dehydration, wants to get through school, go back to Africa, and help all the people he had to leave behind.
Kids like that make this world go round, I swear.
Although unfortunately I do not have a naturally optimistic nature.
Isn’t it funny that some of these kids have more faith in life than I do?
I’m going to start going to a Zen Club–searching for that inner sanctuary, baby.
So, peace for now!