Seeing as this weekend/week has dealt a lot with defining what makes me tick, I thought an encounter I had this morning would be perfect to share.

If you’re just visiting for the first time, I have been placed by my volunteer program, the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, at the Saint Cloud Children’s Home. It’s a residential treatment center for at-risk youth. Talk about being out of my comfort zone, as an introvert with a B.S. in Biology who never wanted to teach kids, not even a smidgen. It took me by surprise and it was much to my chagrin to learn that this was my placement for 10 months. Yikes! It is always challenging, whether it means learning to be purposeful with my time there, stretching my boundaries, or being willing to be taught something even if it requires coming to work with a humble heart. I’ve really had to put way my pride here.

Some days with the kids are grand, some bring me back to the first day I was there and wanted to throw up in my pocket when no one was looking. Such is the attitude of an introvert placed in a room with 10 teenage girls with this or that history or issue…

Today I began to notice a pattern in my attitude with the children. I cherish the one-on-ones with them, which are few and far between, sadly. It is when I’m with a large group of them – group dynamics are wholly different – that I can barely handle it. I visited a class today and while I knew all the kids there, I couldn’t connect. I felt silly being there, like I was intruding on their space and time. I suppose that makes sense, plus it was out of my department. Usually my work is either with Youth Ministry and Experiential Learning, and my time in the classroom left me without that purpose or department to fall back on. I just didn’t know what to do.

Now I’m on my way to spend time with one of the girls, let’s call her Angie, so in comparison to the fiasco from this morning’s classroom, I’m a lot more excited about it than I would be otherwise.