Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ready For Summer

My brain has been buzzing lately. Adam asked a month or so ago if I'd be willing to teach the middle schoolers at camp this year - at once one of the most difficult and most rewarding ages. My reaction was a quick succession of feelings; first I felt honored and proud that he thinks I can meet the challenge. Secondly, almost immediately, I began thinking about the kids in that group and how I would structure it.

And I'm still thinking about it. There is so much that goes into this job, and it's not even just a job, it's a calling. I keep thinking about the peer pressure at that age, how hard it can be to be an individual, how you're constantly changing and forging a new identity and how uncertain that can make you feel. I felt daunted, but I've kept the ideas floating around in the back of my head, silently becoming a more solid plan. Every once in a while, my brain interrupts whatever I'm doing with an idea - how to respond to a situation, a routine, a rule I need to create outright - and I jot it down in the notebook I'm carrying around for that express purpose.

I know that come June, I'll be able to look at it and be able to impart to my kids the essential things I want them to learn: that they are no one but themselves. That every emotion, reaction, and even discipline I give them comes from a place of love and hope. That they have the power to positively change this world and just need to learn how to use it. And I'm not talking huge undertakings, either, though I will encourage them from the bottom of my heart to take those on. I want them to learn that the little things like kindness, considerateness, regularly coming through for those in your life, and loyalty can sometimes have a stronger impact than one big change.

I've been thinking a lot about Kids Creative, and the impact that it's had on my life. It's changed so much- I've noticed that I never playfully hit people anymore, that my jokes aren't usually digs at people but are instead riffs off of what one of us said. I'm calmer, I'm more patient, I'm more considerate of other people's feelings and time. I'm by no means perfect, and I still mess up or flake out or am not as forthright as I should be. But when I look at how I'm living, how I'm feeling, how I'm behaving, I see threads of Kids Creative in it, weaving in and out with ones from my parents and my friends and my relationships. It's given me a place to grow in a different way from other places I've been, and for that I am forever grateful. It's my mission this summer to provide that for my kids in any way they need it.

And of course, to have a blast.

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