Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why It's Worth It

For four years, I've been leading a small group of middle schoolers called The Difference Makers. We meet weekly, and the kids decide how they want to do to make a difference in this world. This has involved everything from visiting a local nursing home, to ringing bells for the Salvation Army, to posting inspiring messages around the middle school, to participating in Relay for Life.  Ten enthusiastic middle schoolers can be a lot of fun.  They wear me out but also lift me up, every week. It's been a real pleasure to be involved with these kids, who are obviously dedicated and so full of idealism, creativity, and spirit that they inspire me all the time.

Participating in Relay for Life was a great experience, certainly, but it involved a lot of planning and preparation. The kids worked really hard, but in the final stretch, I found myself picking up a lot of their slack, and it wore me out. At our meeting last week, I told them that I'd decided to cancel the talent show we'd been planning for May. The older kids, especially, were very disappointed, and they gave me a little flack for it, until I laid out my reasoning. Of course, they couldn't argue against it. We then moved on and continued our final prep for the Relay by writing thank you notes to our supporters.

I only allow ten students in the group because it's just me (though a couple of the parents often help if we need transportation). Three of the students have been Difference Makers since 6th grade, and this will be their last year at the middle school. I'm going to miss these three a lot, as they are wonderful young men. After we finished the thank you notes, one of these boys asked for some art supplies to work on "one more card", and I showed him where to get them. He said they needed to work in the hallway, since there was more room. I let them do their thing.

When our meeting was over, C said he needed to finish that card at home. On Saturday, after the Relay ended, C and J approached me and gave that card to me.

I cried when I read it.

From C....

and from J...

I wish I could take credit for the character of these boys, but I can't. (That honor goes to their wonderful parents) but it's been an pleasure to know them and see them mature over these three years. I know they will continue to make a difference in years to come, and I can't wait to follow their success.

Giving your time to others may not always be convenient. Sometimes, it may also be exhausting. But it is always worth it.

I've posted this because I knew you'd be happy for me and these kids, not so I could fish for compliments about it; I've turned comments off for this post.

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