Remembering My Students From Years Past

Captain’s Log  4,454

I woke up this morning with a headache so bad my eyes felt like they were going to fall out of my head.  Happens every single time I deal with a certain group.  Professionals tell me that these headaches happen when the stress is trying to exit your body.  If that’s the case, I take this headache as a good sign that the crap is over…..for a time.

There was a victory yesterday.   On paper.  It still doesn’t change my mind about  anything, but it was a good move.  I have other things to focus on – like…..a trip to Amsterdam next year and digging out my paints for another art project now that the days are warm enough to use the patio as a studio.  Watching the birds.

Speaking of birds, the finches are now so bold (or perhaps comfortable) that they sit within 2 feet of me as I fill the feeders.  They wait politely on the rosebushes while I take care of things for them.  They also wait politely for fresh water in the birdbath.  One of these days, I am going to hang a thistle sock on my head and see if they come even closer.

One of my former students sent me a video of herself jumping off a bridge in Ecuador.  Holy mommacita!  She also sent a photo of her after the jump as she swings into the water at the bottom.

Bungee jumping low enough to hit the water?  No way!

I met her when she was about five years old.  Her little brother was about three and was so afraid of me he hid in the toy box.  She was never afraid, however.  She was one of those kids who challenged me every single time.   Questions, questions, questions.

She had it rough.  Her parents split and her father distrusted everything that happened with our youth group.  He refused her permission to join our mentoring program, etc.   She also wasn’t allowed to do any of the over-night activities because we were “Satanic.”  

We had a sort of rescue program at that church.  With 75 kids in the program, there was bound to be some problems in the homes.  There was a group of brothers who had were routinely thrown out of the house.  Since the chances of them being split up if they entered the system was extremely high, I didn’t want to risk that.  I met them at the church and opened up the community room as a shelter for them.  I did this more than once.  We made a lot of home visits and took those boys on outings and exposed them to things their parents never did.  The middle boy was one of the kids in my mentoring group (thank goodness his parents let them participate).  He wound up with a full scholarship to Reed College in Portland – full ride.  All four years.  The oldest one went to Berkeley.  The youngest went to high school in Ireland.  They all made it through.  It really does take a village to raise a child.  In this case, it took a team dedicated mentors to make that difference.  Once a new minister came in with her own ideas about what kids should be doing, the entire program fell apart.  Really sad.  Eventually, the entire church fell apart but it was rebuilt into something new with the heart and soul of another minister who understands people and what they need.   She is a friend of mine even though I no longer attend any church at all.  I’m not even sure if I even believe in God anymore.  It’s nice that I don’t have to be in the club to be counted.  I wish all ministers and churches treated people that way.  

There are times I really miss doing meaningful work like that, and then there are times I am so glad those days are over.   It’s been almost 7 years since I worked with kids, and I’m not sure I have the snap anymore.    Or the desire.

Today is another opportunity to move forward.  The headache is almost gone and I no longer feel pukish.  It’s amazing what a handful of Advil and a really strong cup of coffee will do.


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

14 responses to “Remembering My Students From Years Past

  1. You sounded brilliant in the newspaper review this morning. Concise, edited, and he didn’t say whether he liked the show or not. Good review thanks to you.

  2. goatbarnwitch

    Brimmed hat with seed along the brim.. you will need a window or other mirror to see the result but if you get your Zen on I bet you will have a crowd on your head ;>)

  3. I hope that the headache is gone by now. Amsterdam sounds exciting. The last time that I was there, it was the Queen’s Birthday. That is quite an event..not like Betty Windsor would have, I suspect. I love seeing the strips of tulips growing in the fields in the Netherlands, and I have an odd fondness for the Polders and Dikes museum. Oooh, and perhaps you will ride in a canal tour boat, that is fun. Most of all, though, is people watching! XOFifi

  4. You are such a sweet, bright light among the all-too-often dank and depressing Internet world. Yes, you have your down days. We all do. I’m glad you’re approaching a period of gentleness and freedom. We will have space for you very soon, should your wanderlust bring you this direction.

  5. Hey, I am so sorry about that headache….tho I sure do understand. I used to have them too. So glad that paper was signed….one has hopes, and I so hope you are also going to Rotterdam. While there you can see the Rotterdam in all her restored beauty. Did I say that. You are going to give a gift to yourself, and nothing could be better after this last war. Hugs.

  6. I think you have mentored so many children (of every age) that it is time for you to have the freedom of doing what is best for you. I know you have a calling and while its voice gets smothered from time to time with the nonsense you have to work with ~ your time is coming. And it may be coming faster than you ever thought possible.

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