Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11: Youts.

Field trip with 11-12th grades.
Youth movie night.
Today I am thankful for youth. I'm always amazed that the substitute list at the school is packed with people willing to teach and work with elementary school-aged kids, but only a very small group are willing to work with teens. It's completely backwards.

Babies and grade school aged kids stink. Like I mean literally stink. They have accidents. They throw up on you. They have snotty noses. They want to touch you all of the time and get in your lap. They are disgusting. (I've never one time had a teenager try to climb into my lap or snot on me.) Not to mention, little kids are needy in a way that only a new puppy can be. They can't communicate well and frequently meltdown when they can't get a point across. You cannot reason with them and mostly they only respond to direct threats. It's like Thunderdome or Blade Runner. It's loud, crazy, pandemonium punctuated by screaming and irrational behavior. I can't imagine that ANYONE thinks elementary school is easier than high school. You must all be crazy.

I'm a youth person all the way. So, today, day eleven of 30 Days of Thankful, I'm thankful for teenagers.

CCA Volleyball Girls
A) The teens I get to teach at school. 
Yes, they make me insane. (They can honestly respond 'likewise, Mrs. C'.) But it's all good. I wouldn't trade jobs with anyone on the entire planet. I am happy to get up in the morning and go to work, and not many people get to say that. I love the kids. I love their tedium--like what kinds of shoes they find popular and what movies they are going to see this weekend. I like hearing about their lives and dreams and fears.

I like it when they have a song they want to share with me or a story from the bonfire/bowling night/first date. I love it when a kid "gets it" and things click in English class and suddenly that hand is flying up in the air to identify the gerund or explain why Hester's situation was so jacked up. It's like magic. I'm thankful that they trust me. It's also some kind of awesome to put on the Shakespeare play every year. I look around sometimes and can't believe that this gets to be my life.

Entire High School on field trip to see a play.

B) The kids I get to be involved with through church. They sort of have to put up with me, since I'm the preacher's wife, but I'm glad that they do it so graciously. The Husband began his career in youth ministry, so we have a soft spot for that particular people group (although I'm not EVER going camping again as long a I live).

Having my girls involved in the youth for the first time is interesting. They are growing up so fast, and the fact that they still want me to go to youth movie night with them is something that I'm not taking for granted or wasting. Yes, I'll go anywhere you'll still let me for as long as you'll let me. I'll drive, make brownies, let everyone come to my house to sleep over, you name it, just please, daughters, let me be involved in your lives.

Spirit week 7th and 8th grade girls
I can't imagine everyone not rushing forward to volunteer to host D-NOW weekends (when you fill up your basement, rec room, living room floor with youth who stay two nights and do Bible Study and local activities)...the fact that we have to beg folks to open their homes is baffling to me.

The kids are polite and kind and funny and eager and excited to be there. They clean up after themselves and say "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am". Sure, they are throwing Cheetos at each other and jumping on the trampoline at midnight, but have we grown so old that we've forgotten the joy of midnight on a trampoline or flashlight tag or raiding the girl's/boy's camp? It's a sad state of affairs if you've never thrown food at someone either. You need to get out more.

C) The kids I get to know through my daughters' friendships and sports. My girls are involved in volleyball (Big E is on the Volleyball Team; Naynuh is the team manager), basketball (Naynuh), and cheer (both wondertwins), so we get to know a lot of different kids over the course of a season. Yes, it's exhausting driving all over the free world to see your kids participate in sports. It's also expensive (gas and food and uniforms and shoes, etc.) and draining, and the little ones miss you during that time, but what an amazing chance to give your kids! They get to learn about hard work and sacrifice. They get to practice teamwork and putting others first and serving a group. They get to run and sweat and be physical. They get to learn about winning and losing gracefully. I can't imagine not pushing my kids to participate in sports and activities. They round you out as a human being.

Working with young people is an honor and a privilege. More people should try it. You might be surprised at how rewarding it is.

Macbeth Cast 2012--entire high school CCA

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