I have a number of “thoughts” stored away from before I decided to try the blog thing. They may show up here sometime, but I’ll start with my thoughts from today. Although it’s going to bug me that they won’t be in order. (I’m nothing if not concrete-sequential)
Some days, my job entails a lot of walking around. Sometimes the walking around is with “purpose” – opening lots of doors from piano rooms to the skating rink, going to the school to help someone print something, doing rounds through the dorm, bringing messages between students, checking on things in the kitchen, selling a bag of popcorn before Study Hours start, etc. Sometimes the walking around is “aimless” – wandering to see who is around and what they are up to, going from dorm to school to rink to soccer or football field to be a presence, etc. Often I stop to visit, share a laugh, answer a question, or ask a question. Other times I just smile as I pass by. Many times, when I am walking somewhere with a “purpose” for one student, I get stopped by 1 or 2, or 3, others along the way who also have questions or a request of me.
My job is relationship driven. I am here for the students (or “my teenagers”, as I often refer to them.) Without them I would not have a job. But like most human beings, there are days where I am tired, or have my own life issues weighing on my mind, and being present for the students isn’t that day’s priority in my head.
Yesterday as I walked into the dorm from outside, I was greeted by a few of the students who were in the lobby.
“Hi Myrna, how’s your day?”
“Good… how’s yours?”
I had not just arrived at work; I had been here since before lunch. These students had seen me a few times already today.
I walked into the girls’ dorm and passed a few more students.
I walked into the dean’s office, and instead of propping the office door open to show that I am in here and that you can walk in if you need to, I decided to close the door. I needed a bit of a respite. But from what? From students being genuinely pleased to see me? From wanting to say hi?
These students, these teenagers, these… people… feel the need to be recognized just like we all do. They want to be seen, to be heard, to be loved. And maybe over the course of the year I have been successful in showing them that I have seen them, have heard them, that they matter, that they are loved. And maybe that is what they wanted to unconsciously give back to me? They are, in their way, inviting me into their world and into their lives. What a privilege. If I wave them off and don’t give due attention to their reaching out, am I not doing as much damage as if I had never heard or seen them in the first place?
So I took a breath – we all need a chance to breathe now and again – and headed back out into the world of my teenagers. Into the lobby and into the school, where students who had already seen me and said hello a number of times already would likely greet me again, inviting me into their world.
“Hi Myrna, what are you up to?”
“Hi sweetheart. I’m just hanging around. What are you doing?”