Peace. Today's mathematics is wisdom understanding all being born to power. Today served as an interesting life lesson for me that is somewhat in tune with the old adage "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make em drink." Today I learned that no matter how long I've been workin with a child, no matter how much I say, no matter how much I do, no matter how many times I tell a person how beautiful they are, no matter how many ways I break down how this world works, no matter how many hugs I give them, no matter how much I coach them to want more for themselves, no matter how many times I say that they deserve better...
They still might fall victim to some dumb shit.
What qualifies as that?
There are all kinds... countless situations that a child can get into, especially if they were brought into the world with a cup half empty, dealin with life challenges, deficits, unable to see, work or internalize their strengths.
So today, toward the end of a pretty good work day, I walk in on one of my teenage female students gettin ready to get screwed by a boy who isn't in the program in the boys bathroom during center hours. And ironically, she was just told today that she was elected to our Youth Council due to her leadership abilities and improvement.
After I gave the boy a verbal lashing after his weak attempt to explain himself, and cursed him out without actually cursing and kicked him out, I was pacing and pissed.
After her counselor talked to her, now lil sis is in my office sitting on the floor, quiet, staring at the wall.
So, what do I say to her in this moment that I haven't already said?
What do I say to her that she hasn't already heard countless times over the years me and my staff have been working with her. I mean, we have invested a lot of time and energy with this sister. A lot of mentoring and exposure to opportunities. And she's been through some things. There is a passive-aggressive anger and sadness and low self esteem, although she's beautiful.
As I walked into the office and saw her face, all of my anger melted away. The volcanoe that was erupting inside of me cooled off, I sat in my chair, and for a moment, I honestly didn't know what to say.
And then I looked at her...
And I saw that behind her blank stare, and her tryin not to look at me, I saw the pain behind her eyes. I saw that she was gullible and confused, mixed with the stuff a lot of teenage girls have when they're cute, "hot," and are lookin for love in the wrong places.
So I asked her, "Do you know that we love and care about you?"
She looked at me and said, "Yes."
"Do you love yourself?"
Her eyes returned to the wall. The silence was deafening, and I could tell she was fighting back tears.
I knew she was gonna get it when she got home, so I didn't come with an angry current, and I didn't think that would be most effective at the time. One thing I'm striving to really learn and apply is comin with the right current with the right words at the right time with the right person. It's not about how I'm comfortable communicating. It's about being able to say what needs to be said in the way it needs to be said to bring about understanding with that person. I strive to speak in a manner that brings about the best result. Supreme Mathematics is teaching me that...wisdom understanding.
I spoke with her as clearly as possible so my wisdom could be understood. I weighed each word heavily as I delivered it. I wanted to say something profound to create a life changing moment. I talked about some things I went through when I was young. I told her how beautiful and precious she is and how I saw that ever since I first met her and how she has to value and love herself and embrace her greatness. I told her that she has to love herself before anyone else will and if the boy really respected and cared about her, he would not try to screw her in the friggin' bathroom! Then I gave her a hug, told her I love her, and let her go.
I told her that I wasn't mad, but this shows me how much work we still have to do with her. Then I thought about how her mother is gone and the impact that has on a young girl. Then I thought about all the times I went against my mother's advice because of somethin I wanted to do in the moment.
Knowing better, but not doing better, so you end up not being better.
Now mind you, if sis decides to really start doing better, this may be somethin she can look back on and laugh at. Maybe, with this experience, some of the seeds we've planted in her will start growing, and she'll remember all the things we told her ten years from now, and she'll have that "light bulb moment" that Oprah always refers to where she finally "gets it." She finally understands...
...she could end up pregnant in high school, with the boy leaving her high and dry like so many other little Black girls.
In my line of work, I have learned to recognize and appreciate the small and large victories cuz workin with the babies every day to get them to cee their own greatness is rewarding, but very challenging. And keepin it real, my program is in good shape. The children are improving in several ways, seeing the fruit in our and their labor (cuz we can't do it unless they are willing and open...even if it's just a little bit. THEY have to WANT to do better). But situations like this remind me of somethin my God told me...
"It's not as bad as you think it is, but it's not as good as it could be."
The babies are the greatest, but they have to know that they ARE great so they can BE great and BORN greatness. They have to internalize this, or else, they will continue to know better but not do better. I can talk all I want, but until a child cees it for themselves, unless they have that clear mental picture, then they won't change. Just because you think a child understands doesn't mean that they do. Just because a child says they understand doesn't mean that they do nor are they willing to make a change so they can live out the power that they have inside of them. And that change doesn't always come overnight. It can take years, months, and days, and you may be physically out of a child's life before they get there.
And even after all the work over time you may have invested...
...some may not get there, or by the time they get there, it's too late.
A person (man, woman, or child) does not grow and develop according to your expectations (unless they're fakin it). They grow according to their readiness and willingness, and perserverance. They grow at the rate that they want to grow!
So the lesson of the day for me is...
No matter how much wisdom I have, no matter how much I can offer, a person has to come to their own understanding in their own time.
P.urposefully E.ducating A.ll C.hildren E.veryday (PEACE)
I Medina Peaceful Earth