Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stolen Hearts

I have no pictures to go along with this post, because frankly, last night...there just wasn't the time! I'll be honest, I went into last night's session with the kids thinking it was Part 2 of my two part series and with my crazy schedule, would be a quiet departure and turning to the next project.

I arrived amidst chaos and took a deep breath, thinking "What have I gotten myself into?" As I watched two children get into a physical altercation and heard the attitude being flung towards the program leaders, it was clear the kids were having a rough night and they were more rowdy and aggressive than usual. I thought to myself "This is going to be a long hour." And yes, I was feeling a bit dark about the whole thing.

And then they gathered for their lesson. And they were silent. I started to share about my latest projects and what we would do for that night. And they were silent. I asked questions. Hands raised and they politely waited on me to call on them. I was awed that they were paying so much direct attention to me. They were interested! Then the really cool part happened.

We split into two groups and I took on the boys, challenging myself to overcome my initial dread and to be direct and open with the kids who were being the most aggressive. I opened my lap top and started to show them the pictures I planned to submit for my portfolio tonight, reminding them that I too was learning, had homework and had to put my art out there to be critiqued and judged. And then they started talking. Those that had been fighting were suddenly laughing and commenting on color, line and what they liked about each photo. They were hurriedly asking questions, excitedly encouraging each other to guess what I had photographed, listening closely when I told the story behind each one and how they could be encouraged to reach new heights, try anything and everything and know that if they believed in their art, that was all that mattered. That this belonged to them and what anyone else thought was irrelevant and that they should never be scared to try something new.

And then they took pictures. Last night's rule was: NO PEOPLE. They had to shoot whatever was in the room. I thought they might bore of this. Grumble and half-heartedly snap a picture of a can of soda. But again, they surprised me. They were each told to take a picture, bring it back to me, and then hand the camera to someone who was waiting to share. All of the sudden, I had excited children running back and forth, in nooks and crannies, up high, down low, bringing back pictures of flower arrangements, fruit, bottle caps, notebook spirals, apron print...you name it, they found it. And it occurred to me at that moment: I can't leave them.

These children have something to say. The roughest, toughest boy in the bunch has an artistic eye and is a creative visionary. I am dumbfounded. And moved. Deeply.

I finished my time with telling them I wanted to come back but needed to know who was willing to dig deeper, who was willing to work harder, learn more, challenge themselves to take on the tough stuff, who wanted me to come back. I was warmed to see many hands raise. So I'll be back. For as long as they'll have me. They have stolen my heart. And Melody's too. :)

1 comment:

  1. Katy...sounds like you are not only the teacher...but the student. I am proud of you. You were born to be a mentor...may you be blessed and may they be blessed, as well. Love you.


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