My Two Grad Dates (and Other Secrets)

Truth Byte #59:

Somebody adores you, even when you can’t.”

I am on a personal retreat this week. And while I ponder the big and small choices I have made over the year since my last retreat, a lot of good “ahas” are coming up. Last year, just after coming home from my retreat, I wrote Truth Byte #14, That’s Not Really a Tiger, about how to be gentler with ourselves. Today, I want to tell you something else.  Today I want to tell you that somebody adores you, even when you don’t have the capacity to adore yourself.

Let me tell you a story. I was in twelfth grade, and it was the evening of my high school graduation party. I had two (yes two!) dream-come-true dates, a guy from my faith community that I had crushed on for two years as we went out on group excursions and attended religious education classes, and another that made my heart flutter every time I passed his desk in Chemistry class who I secretly loved for all three years of high school. I actually used to go to “the bathroom” two or three times every class I had with him just so I could pass by Bachelor Number Two, make eye contact, and get a whiff of “he’s-not-just-a-boy-he’s-a-man-because-he-wears-it” cologne.  Maybe that explains my less-than-stellar final marks in that class…
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Do you understand the power of the youth?

I was asked a question today about how to engage young people. They are so vibrant, so creative, so full of potential, yet some of us who are a bit older feel disconnected from the youth in our families, neighborhoods, and cities. Years ago, I sat on the board for a not-for-profit agency dedicated to engaging youth through volunteering. The caliber of ideas, suggestions, and programming initiated by the youth that were discussed at our board meetings put our city hall’s program providers to shame. They were coming up with ways to include even the most disengaged, disadvantaged, and disillusioned amongst them. And they were doing it in fun, creative, and out-of-the-box ways. Young people have the ability to think innovatively and to challenge what the rest of us take for granted. And yet so often, we shut them up or shut them out. Below are my thoughts on how to engage the young people in your life, not only for their sake, but for yours. You will be amazed at how deeply your life will be enriched once you really give them a chance.

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