During my day I have admin time built in to my schedule and normally use this time to pop into classrooms, wander the halls, and talk to students. I'm always happy to hear what kids have to say because they love sharing their stories. It's not just the elementary kids, even though their stories are pretty funny sometimes, the senior students love to chat as well. Today as I was doing a walk-about, a boy said, "Mr. M, did you see Randy (pseudonym) today? Man is he upset!" I hadn't but quickly went to find him. He was in the weight room, and yes, he was upset.
Randy and I have a lot in common. When he talks about his fears I hear my fears, when he talks about his frustrations I hear my frustrations. As I listened to him rant and rave about how much he hated everyone and everything all I could hear was a boy wanting to get back to a place he was once. A place where he was happy and sure of himself. A place where he loved life and nothing would get him down. He kept talking about how things were just one year ago and how everything has changed and how miserable he is now.
I asked him a simple question. I said, "Randy, is the fall from where you were a one-way path?" He looked at me, unsure of what I meant. I asked him again, "Randy, you were in this place of happiness and joy once, right?"
He replied, "yes! And all I want to do is get back there!"
I asked him again, "Randy, is your path from happiness to this frustration a one-way path?"
"No, it can't be. Otherwise how would I have gotten there in the first place?"
With that we found the root of his frustrations. He knew what he once was and knew that who he is today is not honoring that "real him". All he was missing was the path. He was at point B and wanted to get back to point A, he just didn't know how to.
We all have those memories, times we wish we could go back to when life was great and things were easy. It's not because we had less to do or had more money, it's because we were being true to ourselves. This boy reminded me I have two choices every day. I can follow a path to a place lower than I am today. A path paved with negativity, defeatism and disdain for others. Or I can follow a path to a place that raises me up from where I am today. A path where I choose to see the good in everything around me, where I have patience with others and model positive living to those around me.
I'm glad I had a chance to talk to Randy today, and I'm thankful for what he taught me.
As always, comments are welcome :)