Stories | January 28th, 2021
One of our mentors recently told us about how he was seizing the teachable moments with his young person. We thought his story was worth sharing:
My young person can be described as free spirited - not at all shy to put himself out there.
As we get to know each other more, I can often see some learning edges that can only be fine tuned with constructive feedback.
Finding a window and trusting the process is very important. To be honest I had seen this particular behaviour once before but felt we didn’t know each other well enough yet for me to offer constructive feedback and for him to hear me out.
One day, I pick him up one day and observe as he drags his feet away from his game console as his dad encourages him to get ready. He threw out snarky remarks and said what appeared to be very hurtful statements. Dad bites his tongue and still encourages him to remember his bag and water bottle.
We head out to pop some manu’s. Apparently I was in need of a qualified teacher and he was right for the job! As I learn one hard flop at a time, I can’t help but notice his overwhelming generosity and patience in teaching me.
Afterwards, we grab some food and he gets to put together an amazing sandwich and grabs some chips that came in a combo.
It was over food that we started to reflect on the day. We talked about something that happened at the pool. Another child made a crude joke at his expense, he got loud and responded with equally crude language.
I chose to challenge his reaction: “What was that about bro? That wasn’t very nice.”
He talked about how he gets frustrated and feels people only listen that way. What would you do he asks, our new friend came at me with his opening line of unsavoury humour. I said i’d address it with “we don’t talk like that in our community pool”. He sheepishly offered his apologies and we carried on. By demonstration, my answer is offered.
As we ate, we continued to discuss how we treat people and how it may make them feel, not just in the moment but in some cases for a long time after.
We then spoke about his dad and how he tries his best. I even asked him to give examples of how his dad showed that he cared - to which he had many. “He’s a god dad aye?”, I said.
He ate half his sandwich and asked me to help him wrap the other half nicely for later. His packet of chips untouched too.
When we got home, his dad met us at the steps. He then handed over the sandwich and chips to his dad and said, “This is for you dad. I’ve already eaten. And thank you”
“For what?” His dad asked. “Nothing. Just thank you”
His dad looked at me as his son ran into the house.
Tears in his eyes. We just nodded at each other. I think no verbal explanation was needed. It was kind. Seemingly out of nowhere. It was in a language that was warm and simple enough to miss without context.
In a world where things are highly contagious, I'd rather catch me some kindness.