Thursday, May 29, 2014
An Asshole's Adventure in Adventure Education
I'm so tired. Today I spent the day with my mother and a bunch of third graders as I was a group leader for SWINGS. (Swings stands for 'smaller wings' and WINGS is an acronym for Winning Innovations for Nurturing Growth in Students- it is an award winning program my mother created.) I am sunburned and exhausted. But I had a lot of fun. I also gained an incredible amount of respect for people like my mother and sister who have dedicated themselves to the education of children. That is because, quite frankly, some of the kids suck. Like, really fucking suck. Total assholes, even worse than me. One kid was driving me crazy all day; not paying attention, fidgeting, being selfish, etc. But later in the afternoon a different kid joined our group which made me realize the first kid wasn't so bad at all.
And then there were the kids that made me fall in love with them. There were sweet little girls who love to give hugs. There were adorable little boys who already know how to flirt. And then there was the chubby booger faced mo-hawked ginger who stole my heart and became my absolute favorite of the day. 'Awkward' does not even begin to describe this kid's appearance and demeanor. But he was smart; he was matter-of-fact. He was always always listening and eager to help and the best team player out of all the kids I worked with today. He was a good egg.
My mother and sister are both teachers. They are not allowed to call kids assholes, even when they are. They can't say that some of the kids suck, even though they do. And they sure as fuck would never call a child a chubby booger faced ginger, even though he totally is one. They love all the kids and try to give them all the attention they need. They try to teach them and mold them and make them better people even when it is exhausting, disheartening, and utterly impossible. They are better people than I am. I'm just an accidental asshole. I can barely try to teach myself how to be better, let alone someone else's snot nosed kid. The world, especially the children, are very lucky to have people like my mother and my sister.
My mom is retiring next month. Since it would be the last time she ran the program that we did today- the one she created- some former students got up and spoke about her and the impact she has had on their life. It took a long time. A lot of people had a lot of things to say. My mother cried. She cried a lot. People even came up to tell me their stories about how wonderful my mother is. But I already knew that. She's my mom. It was beautiful to see her weep in appreciation of the people appreciating her. I hope every kid someday has a teacher like my mom. And I hope those kids tell that person what they mean to them. Because I'm sure it is even more wonderful to experience than to it was to witness.
I would love to write more about what a wonderful program and fantastic day today was, but I'm tired. Those little shits wore me the fuck out. Much respect to all the educators out there that have to get up and do it all again tomorrow.
My mommy, the wonder woman.