I am always learning
Although I have learned a few things in my years, I still find myself in moments of learning.
My education is not only found in a classroom.
Or in typical settings.
Sometimes, some of the best lessons are found where you least expect them.
Like in a little girl.
Maybe even 70 of them.
In the last week, I found myself paying attention to them in ways I never thought I would.
Simple easy things that I had long forgotten.
Unfortunately, some lessons came as huge wake up calls.
Here’s how it went:
This past week, I was working at a summer empowerment camp for girls aged 8-11 years old.
Not only would I be speaking to all of the girls several times over these 3 days, but I was also responsible for a group of about 10 as they attended different activities and I also stayed with them in the cabins at night.
My “Mother Goose” instincts took over just as they had when my boys were little.
Some might think that kids are kids so I should have no problem hanging out with these girls…
But let me tell you something — little boys and little girls are very different.
I don’t know how to put “up your hair” — I buzzed my boys’ hair short, even in the winter.
Although my main job was to look after these little ones, I also needed to help then when asked.
In turn, they ended up teaching me without even knowing it.
What I learned:
Girls are emotional.
I don’t mean this in a bad way — they just share their emotions more freely. When they are upset, boy will they make sure you know. If they see a bug, they will let out a blood curling scream that jolts you awake faster than you can snap your fingers. At some point in my life, I stopped doing that. I know I didn’t mean to and I don’t know why either. I think I just tucked my really vulnerable feelings away, hoping no one would find them every again. But when these girls were upset about anything, they didn’t care who saw them cry. They gave me permission to be vulnerable again.
Girls are inquisitive
Surrounded by nature and listening to different speakers and trying new activities, these girls ask a ton of questions! None of them were afraid to ask anything. The were not embarrassed about “not knowing” and never even thought twice about someone thinking they were asking a “dumb question.” If they still didn’t understand, they would ask the question in a different way. At some point, I forgot to use my voice. That I had something to gain from using that voice.
Girls are playful
When we had some “down time,” these girls would just “play.” Making up games and using their imagination to “pretend” anything they saw in their imagination. They never questioned who they were or why they were thinking the way they were. Everything was spontaneous and fun. As adults, we sometimes forget to have fun, to laugh, to live in the moment. To the chants of “Won-der Woman!” I jumped off the diving board a few times just to show them that even super heroes can have a good time.
Girls are insightful
They might be young, but these girls are always watching and were helpful in sharing what they observed. One night, one young girl was crying and missing her family. It was her first time away from home. Another girl came and told me about it so I talked to the girl who was upset and calmed her down. They want to help each other and even if they can’t solve the problem themselves, they will come to others who can. Too often, girls (and women) ignore another woman’s needs because they are so focused on their own. Imagine how we could change this world for the better if we paid a little more attention to the people around us?
Girls are loving
These beautiful young girls would give hugs all day long! Not the fake, barely touch you kind of hugs too. The ones where they wrap their entire arms around you and you can’t help but feel the love they want you to have. I love hugs. The big bear hugs are my favorite — the ones where your heart is connected to someone else’s — if even just for a moment. Having raised boys and now that they are all grown, I will take any hug when I can get it. Having just met me, these simple act of love given freely by these girls will always be some of my favorite memories.
I am always learning
No matter how old I am or how old I will get, I will always be learning something new.
Or being reminded of something I forgot.
Age doesn’t dictate who we learn from or what knowledge we gain.
Sometimes, it is the smallest of minds and bodies that change us for good.
Leave it to 70 young girls to show me, once again, why I love what I do.
And they have the ability to teach this woman a thing or two.
Thank you, girls, for a great few days.
“Wonder Woman” is better because of you.
Michelle A. Homme 2017 ©