Monday, September 16, 2013
When I took over as the Teen Director at the YMCA one of the first things that was told to me was that working with teens was a thankless job. What that person meant was that most of the time you will not hear from the teens how much you mean to them or see the difference you are making in them until they grow up and become adults. That person was saying that teens are teens and no matter how much you mean to them they don't tell you because they just don't think about it in the moment.
I actually have seen that first hand as some of my youth from my days at the YMCA have shared with me in their adult lives how much of an impact I had on their lives. They let me know that they are so thankful for the hand I played in making them the person they are today. I cherish each one of those conversations, texts, emails, and facebook messages that I have gotten from them. It truly melts my heart to hear from them and know that yes I have made an impact.
This past Sunday, Harper, a youth that I have known since she was in the 5th grade brought me a brown envelope. She handed it to me, told me Happy Birthday, and said that I couldn't read it with her standing there. She sort of ran / walked away. I opened the envelope and inside was a paper she had written for her English class. She had to write about a mentor in her life and she choose me.
The paper talked about how much of an impact I have had in her life and that I was always there for her and available. She said that I was her mentor because I am passionate, wise, and loyal. She goes on to talk about my passion for my job and how I am available whenever people need me. That I am a very passionate person. She talks about how wise I am and that I am always willing to help whenever a problem comes up. She talks about how I seem to know the answer to a lot of the things that teenagers deal with. She finishes with talking about how loyal I am and that no matter what mistakes they make I always have their backs. I check on them frequently and am always supporting them.
It was amazing to read the words that Harper wrote. I was so thankful and humbled by her kind loving words. I am so thankful that she shared this with me and showed me that this is not a thankless job. My kids love and support me just as much as I love and support them. Harper finished her paper with the line:
"Without a doubt Eric is that inspiring person to me. I hope that one day I will be admired the way I admire him."
Words can not express my feelings when I read that sentence!