Saturday, February 07, 2009

More About Writing; Writing Can Give You a Way – Especially Students – to Explore Who They Really Are and What They Want in Life – as It Did for this Remarkable Student at the Boys and Girls Club; It's a Window into the Soul -- This is Why I Urge Parents Working With Their Children Not To Worry About Spelling or Grammar First – But to Let the Writing Flow

Dear Readers:

When I first met this student, he was shy, awkwardly tall – because he wasn’t comfortable with his giant frame – and not giving himself much credit for anything.

(John – this is not his name, because he didn’t want his name used) didn’t seem to think he had any smarts and he was planted in a class of college bound students who were high achievers already. I asked for all the students to write down what they did for community service.

He couldn’t think of anything.

I asked the students to write down their strengths.

He couldn’t think of anything.

Finally, the girls in the class prodded him, with one asking about the shirt he was wearing – a Habitat for Humanity T-Shirt, because he had helped build homes for the non-profit. They also got him to confess that he volunteered in his church!

It took a bit of time for this student to discover he was also a writer – and it looks to me like a deep thinker. He gives the class a lot of credit here, but he should really credit himself because what he really learned is that he could write. When the writing flows, many answers can be discovered about oneself. In this exercise, I asked the students to write whatever came to mind for 15 minutes.

This is what he wrote:

“Going into this class for the first time, I felt uneasy at my ability and shy at having them accept or reject me based on their judgments.

I have changed.

I used to scoff at the idea of revealing myself to others, especially others who I see frequently or others who, even scarier, are my close friends.

I have changed a lot.

I didn’t want to look for a job or go to college or meet new people or talk in public because I hated rejection.

Now, at this point in my life, I fear not the trials and errors ahead of me. I fear not talking to unfamiliar people or speaking to others. I fear not rejection and failure as I had,so soon before, been immobilized by.

I have a job, and it’s helped me grow, both in my individuality and my social skills. I have grown not to fear failure or the resulting reprimands for it. I am changed so much now because of this class.

Writing to me used to be unfamiliar, and scary. But now, it is a way to express my true feelings and thoughts to others. It is somewhat impersonal but it is a start.

Writing to me is away to express my creative side in an environment that is in no way harmful to my self esteem or state of mind.

I can now tell someone what I think of them honestly, while not being mean or disheartening.

I have more confidence. I have higher self-esteem. I trust myself and put trust into others as well as myself.

I like writing. I knew I did when I was younger -- liked to write, liked to create, liked to draw. But that fervor diminished over the years by oppression of potential failure or the burden of embarrassment.

I know now to trust myself as person to do what is needed, and I am thankful that the class led me to this solid state.