You are Cool!
By Jay Langston, Little Rock Project
Yesterday, at our project outing, I was fly fishing with a middle school-aged child from our local foster care group home in Arkansas.
Towards the end of the project I said, “You are a super cool dude!”
He looked away and said, “The kids at school don’t think so.”
I said, “Well, I have spent all afternoon with you and let me tell you those kids are wrong!”
He looked up at me, with his eyes lit up, and said, “Really???? Thanks!”
Even though it was nearly 100 degrees, we had to wear a mask, we are unsure how many kids we get to work with this year, and the fact that we are in a messy global pandemic, we showed up for these kids. They need us.
But what I didn’t expect was my realization that we need them too.
I know that as a mentor we were all drawn to TMP for some similar reason, basically boiling down to a common denominator of wanting to help a demographic of kids that need us most. I know for me personally, when I get an experience like this or hear a similar story it really energizes my drive to help these kiddos.
But at the end of my day yesterday, after watching my mentee grow, learning how to cast, and smiling while catching fish, it made it almost impossible to focus on the tough stuff going on in the world. I received a break as well from life’s stress.
And my tough stuff in the world was really tough this last week. A close coworker of mine committed suicide and it’s been an overwhelming week of continuously thinking about how in the world did I not know he was suffering? How in the world did I not do enough on a daily basis to make him feel important enough to want to live?
I realize this isn’t my fault, but I also realize there were ample opportunities to make him feel more important and needed. I went into this project with this in my mind and I will at every project because I realize how much we all need it:
That now more than ever, I needed to tell someone how much they meant and how cool they really are, and I invite you do the same.
TMP is more wide-reaching and beneficial than I think we all realize sometimes. And maybe this week if my mentee gets made fun of at school, he will hear me telling him how cool he is and how all the kids are wrong in the back of his mind!
*Photo from Emma Brown Photography, Colorado