The best thing about working with preadolescents is gleaning how they build relationships. Some come and go, and others are locked in tight for years.
This may or may not surprise you, but one of my 4th-grade male students was ‘dating’ a female in the same grade, only to have his heart slightly broken so she could ‘date’ another female in his class.
I told him it’ll all be fine and he would find someone else. But then he told me he’s done with dating for a while. This is an example of a come-and-go relationship…thank goodness. But he handled it well.
Personally, I think 4th graders should focus on other things, but it’s not up to me.
Relationships are hard for all of us, but children have a natural way of letting their emotions flow easier than many adults do.
Some of us are dammed inside by a giant wall, afraid to release the pent-up passion within us. As a result, we struggle with saying intimate things to each other, even to the one we sleep with at night.
When we meet a passionate person who uses rousing words, we want to run from them with our judgemental selves because many of us hide our own feelings and want to escape people who seem to be a little more genuinely expressive than we are.
Have you ever wondered why?
I once was standing in an aisle at Walmart when I heard a man behind me say you have pretty hair.
Those delightful words piqued my nosey curiosity, so I slightly turned my head toward the voice, trying not to be noticed. I had to know to whom this bold man was talking. Was he a weirdo, I wondered.
But I, too, wanted to see her pretty hair.
When his eyes met mine, I could have been knocked over with a feather.
I was stunned that the man in the Walmart aisle was looking at me. I quickly replied thank you, BUT I am sure I didn’t even smile. Instead, I grabbed my item and left like my shoes were on fire.
Can you believe I practically ran away just because he mentioned I had pretty hair?
Why? Was it from my indoctrination of what I learned when I was younger?
What the heck?
Anyway, I still think about that moment and wonder how screwy my face must have looked.
Who really was the weirdo at that moment?
As you can tell, I’ve never forgotten this episode because of how good it made me feel. It scared me on the one hand but excited me on the other. So what was it about my hair he liked? Why didn’t I ask?
Had I to do it over again, I would have reacted differently, like, by giving him a giant smile and a genuine thank you for noticing.
The two ways we express ourselves are through our interesting words and compelling actions, certainly not dull words and boring actions.
Being a teacher, students say complimentary things to me all the time, but if a man said those things to me, I would be wondering what the heck does he want? But it is acceptable because it’s a child telling me.
But I know this, this sort of thinking comes from my own head. My own fears. It doesn’t have anything to do with the person complimenting me.
Lately, I’ve begun to ask my friends about their relationships, you know, doing research.
I realized we all have common threads of dullness, lack of expressing how we feel, and boredom.
We don’t use passionate words to each other very much, do we?
Or, maybe it’s just me. Perhaps, in the ocean of busyness, tiredness, and brain shut down, I let mine slip away on the midnight train to Georgia.
Sure, I hear people say what makes them mad, or who cut them off in line, or what makes them unhappy and, for goodness sake, complain about everything and everyone.
There’s crankiness everywhere, and people sure don’t mind expressing that, do they?
And, there’s the opposite side of crankiness. People who skim the surface of saying nice words here and nice words there, being ever so careful not to slip and share their real feelings, and never violating their own self-righteous ways do make a totally boring person. I’m sorry, but they are all together, entirely boring people.
It’s rare to meet people living from the depths of their hearts.
We may need to understand healthy passion and allow ourselves to express it freely without condemnation or fear.
And, as it so happens, I met a rare one of these people who lives from the deep side.
He was from another culture and extremely open with his expressions. At first, how he spoke set off fire alarms in my head. What kind of person is this, I wondered?
Intrigued, I was.
I was scared and fascinated at the same time, but fascinated because I am a writer. A creative type of person. I love these sorts of characters.
They seem more trustworthy because they say all the great things their heart feels. So blissful and romantic to hear.
I have struggled with being expressive most of my life with my words because of shyness, but I think it’s time for a good change.
And one last note, I do realize there is a dark side to all this, but I’m not going there because, as adults, we all know what that is and where it can lead, but I just want to address being more open, not choking back our words we’d really like to say, and having less judgment and fear.
Perhaps, some people wouldn’t need counseling if they set themselves free. Just a thought.
Believe it or not, it’s a beautiful topic to discuss.
Until next time,