Time Well Spent

I do something completely selfish and try to convince myself that the reason behind it is rather selfless.  When I’m done dealing with doctors and lab tests, even on days when I’ve been plugged in to some chemicals they want to clean my system with as if I were a pool; I go down and try my best to work with kids doing their homework.  For many reasons some of these kids are in year round school just to maintain their place, not to fall behind.  Plenty of them need little assistance, maybe a hint on some problem.  {and don’t get me started on Common Core Math, the dumbing down of kids continues!}

Sitting there looking at the scribbled notes on a stack of papers, maybe they have their phone/iPod next to them with music I’ve neither heard nor heard of.  For an hour or so, I get to be a kid again.  Some of the parents were worried in the beginning until they realized I not only was a patient but some learned that I once had a kid so they were eventually grateful for a little help.  My mother told me that she can’t understand why it is that I seem to be the only one who can “control” my nephew.  It’s simple, I give him an option and tell him what the reward is.  “When you finish X, we can do Y.”  Ironically the same way you run a business.

I’ve learned through these kids about Taylor Swift and Kanye West.  Not just that MTV thing, but about their music.  The messages they are trying to convey.  I hear about some obscure web program that no one tells their parents they are listening to/ watching and it reminds me of when I would sit in my bedroom at 12 years old listening to Dr. Demento or Dr. Ruth on the radio with the volume turned just loud enough to resemble a whisper.

What do those kids get back, hopefully some knowledge about the world.  A guy who isn’t their parent, but tells them things in a way that they can relate.  I’m no mentor nor am I a roll model for the way they should live life.  My demons come through with the older ones, and sometimes I can’t sit there with a young girl without getting completely emotional and needing to excuse myself at times.

The thing that I get from it?  A glimpse at a life or lives that have so much potential.  I used to work with my neighbors kids, I went on to loving every minute I got to spend with the ex’s nieces and nephew.  Add in my nephew and daughter, and at all stages of my life I have had the joy of working with children.  Plenty of people wonder why I stopped teaching and went back to business life.  It was simple, I became emotionally attached to them.  The best work I ever did as a teacher was volunteering at a school in Florida that works with Autistic children.  You go home just wasted from the joy and the heartbreak.

With my own journey needing to take a detour for a few days, not being able to work with those kids since I’ll be laid up myself taking a nap after they poke around my brain; I just want to remember these kids as being kids.  Not sick, not tired of everything; just normal kids doing normal things.

Put simply, it’s the best thing I can ever do to honor my own daughter.  Help the kids who would have been part of her life.  Give them the opportunities to be anything, everything they want.  It sounds like some grand plan, but it’s not.  The most important thing you can do for any person, child or adult, is tell them they are capable of anything.  They can be anything.  That you are proud of them for just trying something.  {okay, now the tears are starting up and I’m waiting outside the nuclear lab for my turn.  Time to finish this up}

I truly believe in human potential, good and bad.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Young and the Rested.”

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