Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tell Your Story.

Nourishment comes in so many forms.

A kid who runs all over the school and never goes to class told me his story today, and it made me think about the nourishment we choose to give and receive. This young man was supposed to be in high school, realized his friends were there and he wasn't, and he had been discouraged about getting himself back on track. He willingly told me about how he gave up and how his sister at 18 had a baby. She was working and also did not finish high school, which to me just sounded like a recurring theme in his family.

He obviously seemed to have some home training, as I relayed my story to him about sleeping on desks and failing every math class, only to have math be a revelation and a joy with the teachers during my summer classes. He said "rest in peace," when I told him about one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Radke, who died of cancer when I was coming back for school that fall, and how that crushed my heart. He reacted when my custodian friend walked by and told him his story of having to take night classes as an adult to get his credits towards graduation, a story he tells with regret, because of the extra time it took him to get that diploma after he began his adult life. His eyes seemed to tear when I told him of my veteran ex-gang member friend who pulled his life together.

Imagine the pain I felt when I asked the young man why he hadn't told anyone his story. His answer broke my heart. "No one has the time to listen, or cares to ask."  Do we even wonder why a child would keep making the poor choices he makes if he keeps getting taught that we do not live in a loving, caring and compassionate world? Teachers become the collective, as opposed to an individual.

We consume so much information throughout the course of the day. We hear, see and experience things on a pretty regular basis, that we forget how much of this we are consuming. And we forget, just like food, how some experiences are lush and pleasurable, sometimes not healthy, and some are light and nutritious...

I don't know. Maybe I didn't reach him at all, but I was sure to tell him that if he needed someone to listen to more of his story, I'd be willing. In the meantime, I am not going to stop feeding myself and others healthy food.

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