Thursday, January 20, 2011

What is your inspiration?

"Miss Janet, what is your inspiration?"

One of the teens had taken the Flip video camera to interview people on our field trip. "What is your inspiration?" was his question of the day.

"You guys," I replied. I saw a slightly odd look on the videographer's face like, "What is this lady talking about??"I tried to explain, though I don't know that I was able to express my sentiment in a way that completely described the depth of my statement. I probably can't do it much justice here either, but I'll try.

Youth combined with education is my inspiration. I see how much the two together can accomplish. I see kids who are...

  • Quick. Watching the teens handle technology that they've never touched before and take to it so quickly. 
  • Knowledgeable. Seeing the kids in our After-School Academy garden and listening to them explain the difference between grub worms and earthworms, tell about the tea mixture they created to make the garden grow, and explaining how diatribes can get rid of ants. 
  • Passionate. Listening to young adults who teach the kids get as excited as the kids about what they are teaching. 
  • Growing. Seeing the maturity of a college student in a text telling me, "Everything has a reason," and, "Something better will come along," 
  • Demonstrative. Hearing a teacher at the elementary school encourage the kids to get to the After-School Academy because, "They're learning so much about science there! They are my students who speak up in science class."
  • Eager. Hearing about teens who, before going to see Maya Angelou on Friday, rush home from school and immediately go to the computers to begin looking up information on her.
  • Appreciative. Appreciation is often covert. I feel love and appreciation when a middle school boy acts like he doesn't want to participate yet has a sparkle in his eyes as he does participate and learns something new. 
  • Excited.When a few kids begin pushing the other kids to learn and rise to expectations we've set, the many other frustrations go away (at least for that moment). I am thrilled when I am told about different youth who are having extraneous conversations about Nobel Peace Prize winners, life skills they've learned, technology, and game nights.
Youth and their minds inspire me. People in poverty seeking to overcome inspire me. Knowing a kid has potential and pushing, pushing, pushing until that kid begins to see his/her own potential motivates me beyond anything I could explain.

*They* are my inspiration.