Monday, June 16, 2008

Strengths And Weaknesses

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't updated this thing in a while. I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I'm currently working at a cool summer program at a university in North Carolina. It's really, really awesome. The kids (well, I guess they're teens) arrived yesterday and settled into the dormitory. This is a slightly different experience from the summer camp work that I did last summer. There isn't as much constant activity going on: no canoes or sailboats or archery lessons. Instead, the students have a lot of free time in which they can just hang out, and I have to admit I really enjoy hanging out with them.

There is a bit of an egotistical involved with working with kids. I almost forget what it was like to be in junior high, but I know for a fact that that's an age where every kid wants to be older. High school students are, by default, the coolest thing ever, and if that scale continues, then college students like myself must get a ton of bonus cool points. It's nice to know that you're being looked up to just because of something like your age, but then again that only lasts for so long. I'm going to have my group of guys for three weeks, and in that time I need to show them that I'm someone to be respected, but not necessarily befriended (that's the tricky part about working with kids, in that they really need to be bonding with their peers, not you).

Junior high and high school are also a tricky age, because even though you want to show yourself as superior to your students, they very well may be better at you in certain things. For example, I am wretched at basketball (or any kind of activity that requires excessive amounts of coordination, like good dancing). Still, my guys wanted to play. I couldn't say no, of course, so we played. And I got stomped. Hard.

But I shrugged it off. I couldn't apologize for it or make an excuse; I'm just not a big fan of basketball, and I assured them that even though they might win on the court, if we went to the cross country course there would be a different outcome. :) The point is, I at least showed them I was interested in what they were doing and wanted to bond with them. I think it's important for any person working with kids to own their faults (and even be confident in them). Laughing off your ineptitude is the best way to do things, I think. If you make it a joke; it's not embarrassing anymore, it's just another one of your personality quirks. And you don't lose any respect points.

I think this could be said about life in general. It's important to own your weaknesses. You don't really have to be proud of them, but just don't let them get to you. We all have our own strengths, interests, and weaknesses, and that's what makes us unique individuals. I guy who doesn't care for sports is still a guy, and I think he is just as capable of earning the respect of other guys. In fact, I know he's capable, because I fit that bill pretty well. :)

Anyway, this post kind of rambled because I'm tired, but I wanted to post something. I'll try to keep this updated as the summer goes on but I'm not quite sure how much time I'll have. In either case, I hope everyone is doing well! Later!

6 comments:

Norm! said...

Wow, you're truly brave.

I've also suffered the embarrassment and horror of trying to play basketball. However, I've always been amazed how understanding guys are when they know you are really trying and not just goofing off.

My worst basketball experiences growing-up were in conservative churches with older guys who thought there were mentoring me. Real jerks. Amazingly, trash-talking jocks in public school were much more sympathetic and encouraging than church guys who thought of themselves as "men of God".

Anonymous said...

If you play hard task uff you know I'm honest I do not like anything ami sport recalls in my childhood that was a challenge for me in the physical education class that the teacher wanted to participate but not ami pleased me that if anything dificilhacer is what you do not like.
God bless you bye.

cesar....

MR said...

My trouble with laughing off my bad coordination is that I am also humor-impaired, or at least quirky-humored. I try to make a joke, then they don't get it, then I joke about my bad joking, and everyone thinks I was serious the whole time. Oh, well. At least I can take a joke, but I can't seem to get people to joke with me because they think I am too serious but the joke is on them.

MR said...

Seriously, as Norm said you did show real courage to play basketball with those guys. I don't think I could have done it.

Your advice was exactly right to gain respect by owning your faults and laughing at yourself. People will see that you are being genuine and they will trust you more. Lying and hiding are the fastest ways to lose others' trust and respect. Sadly many of us have done enough lying and hiding to know that.

Brandon said...

Good point, Jay.

ODRE_NUEVO said...

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