A Eureka Moment

As part of his high school experience, our son has to perform volunteer work.  He has spent the first four weeks of his summer vacation volunteering at a day camp in an inner-city school in Cleveland.  His first few days were eye opening.  The third and fourth graders he was working with did not demonstrate the self-discipline he experienced in school.  Outbursts and fights were common.  He would come home exhausted from his day.

I would often ask him what he was learning from the experience.  From a 15-and-a-half-year-old that knows everything, the typical answer was, “Nothing.  I just want my summer back.”  Occasionally, I would get something like, “Kids are a pain” or “Kids don’t listen.”  Last week – the final week of his volunteer requirement– a eureka moment occurred.  I asked him what he learned that day.  His response, “You know, dad, they’re really not bad kids.  They just need someone to listen to them and talk with them.”  He talked about how many of the kids come from challenging home lives.  Later, he even told my wife and me how fortunate he is.  He said he wants to continue volunteering.

We all need someone to listen to us and talk with us.  Reach out to someone today – a relative, a friend, a customer – and just ask how they are doing.  They’ll appreciate it. And you will benefit as well.

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