It was one of those blessed moments when, like a father, one feels on top of the world because you’re ‘taking your kids out’. But in this case, these girls aren’t my kids.
They’re my students.
As we spent the day together at the JAMB CBT Sensitization venue, alongside students from nine other schools, I learned a couple things from them. The topmost of which was: kids have got good hearts and great dreams if we’ll only take time to be patient with them and watch the best in them blossom.
I watched with delight as they flocked around me, wanting to do nothing but talk and relate and…get me involved. And at some point that I jocularly surmised that they don’t collect numbers from the few teenage boys around, they protested innocently, “Sir, don’t you trust us?”
And then again, there was the desperate desire to please to them. They were teenagers whom I was obligated to lead for the period of the JAMB CBT Sensitization. And, like a timid leader, their ICT teacher that I was, I was just too scared how I would go about it.
But they made it easy. Each second that passed at the Sensitization venue, I was elated just being with them. It was more a moment to live besides working. And as I observed them play and laugh and encourage me to join in, I learned their needs (maybe not all), that which gnaw at their innocent hearts, that spur them to want to be at their best always.
Need #1: A Friend To Laugh With
If you’re father, when a smile doesn’t crack on your face and your child expects to see one, there’s most definitely the likelihood that you’ll be questioned by the child.
In the same way, I was.
While it behooves us to be protective of the ones we care about, most especially the young ones, times come when it’s just okay to let go…and laugh along with them. For what hurts more when a joke told by a dear one to lighten the mood is disregarded?
Teenagers want to be accepted. And if such acceptance comes from the one whom they expect it from, they’re inspired to release themselves and go ahead to live out their lives without pretense.
What really makes a difference in a child’s life is your involvement. And if the involvement requires that you open the wells of smile and laugh with them, so be it. It goes a long way to heal their hearts (and often, yours too) and may very well spur them to want to keep that friendship.
Need #2: A Friend To Trust
As we waited outside the venue for the meeting, most of the attendees were almost tired of waiting. When some of my girls decided to take a stroll outside the gate, my first instinct was to fear and dissuade them from going.
Then again, I found, they’d given me every reason to trust them. How?
They’d trusted me enough to believe I could lead them and now it was my turn to do the same: trust them enough to take care of themselves.
And as we relate with the youngsters, the need falls upon us to learn that all they ask is a friend they can trust. One who will not be dissuaded from believing in them. And one whom, for each time they turn their backs, they can still realize is there, urging them on.
Need #3: Examples to Follow.
As the meeting time elongated and it seemed we were all being wearied out, it was understandable that complaints would start to pour. And while the other groups started to murmur and my girls joined, I didn’t move to incite them to not do so.
Rather, I shared jokes and switched to taking their snapshots. I made talks and took interest in lighting the mood. They dug right in and soon discarded the gloominess, joining in the brief reverie.
They didn’t need anyone to tell them what they felt wasn’t real. Just like we aren’t permitted to think they’re insusceptible to feelings.
They needed an example to stay positive. One who understood how they felt. They had one.
Rarely do most young ones know which way is right and the best they can do is imitate who’s going ahead of them. And if there’re no examples to imitate, they simply fall back into the nothingness that misrepresents their identity.
Without visible and viable examples, the young generation can be misled. And the whole lots of them ask for path-blazers. Can you be that example? Can they learn from you?
In what ways has the recent interesting moments of your life impacted you? Share your experience in the comments below.
Yusuff Busayo is a Writer, Blogger, Entrepreneur, and Speaker who’s got unflinching love for books and book-making. Here, I blog about Writing, Creativity, and Making Impact.