Friday, March 22, 2013

Rachel's Challenge

I had the opportunity today to be an adult mentor for Rachel's Challenge at my daughters high school.  The invitation came very last minute and I wasn't really excited about babysitting a bunch of teenagers.  I was told it was an anti-bullying campaign.  It was everything but that.

I spend all day locked in a gym with 80 students and 19 mentors.  15 of the mentors were teachers.  2 more were teachers and parents.  Only 2 were parents.  I was shocked about the lack of parent involvement.  After the experience I had today, I will be there every year after this. 

This program isn't about the killings at Columbine.  It wasn't even about Rachel's death.  It was about her and how she started a chain reaction in the lives of those who knew her.  Read her touching essay here.

I learned something today.  Stop hiding emotion.  This doesn't mean I get to fly off the handle but I need to treat my emotions (good and bad) for what they are and if I am having trouble to talk about it.  Marriage has a set up "friend" that I can speak to and during the first break of Rachel's Challenge I called her to talk to tell her I wanted to talk about some feelings I have in my life that I was to "unload from my backpack" and never put it back in there.  She was scared she was the problem for about 3 seconds.  Why would I want to unload an angel from my backpack??

Something else I relearned is judging people by their outsides.  I am not a gossiper and I don't tend to speak bad about people but I need to be very careful of what I say about and to others.  My tongue is a weapon when I don't have control over it. 

I met 4 very awesome young men that I got to sit and have very intimate and revealing conversations about the crap going on in their lives.  It was heartbreaking to think on the outside that these boys looked "fine" but they were dealing with an aunt who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, a cousin who overdosed because of this diagnosed breast cancer, parental unemployment, drug addiction issues, feelings of not going to make it, etc. One of these boys lives across the street and four houses down.  I am going to look for him more to see how he is doing especially after he described his relationship with his parents.  (Granted most teenagers have some of these feelings about their parents.  True or not, it is how he sees things.) 

So what is Rachel's Challenge about?  Acceptance.  Love.  Showing love to one another.  Fun.  Being who we really are (for good or bad).  Learning to communicate.  Dealing with emotion.  Finding someone to talk to when you are hurt or need help.  It was about looking at things from a different perspective.  Seeing the good even when surrounded by the bad.  Being a true friend.

I have chosen to take Rachel's Challenge and hopefully start a chain reaction....of goodness.  

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