One of the most rewarding parts of working in this environment is being able to build real, meaningful relationships with our students.
We are all “equals but with different responsibilities” (and age as they remind me often).
We get to interact like a real family to practice relationship skills.
That means butting heads a little, getting our feelings hurt and having real conflicts.
But those things are balanced by the growth, connection and enjoyment that comes from attachment in our relationships.
I want to share some of my favorite times lately:
- Dave cracking a really dry joke
- Teasing Dylan so strait faced that it takes him a minute to smile.
- Amber’s proud face as she presents a finished design.
- Eric walking slowly by my door hoping I’ll call him in to chat.
- Lee calling to say he got his first job ever.
- Watching Dallin coming back from college tired and looking accomplished.
- Seeing Carlos sitting with feedback and saying, “I want to get better at that”.
- Joseph half-trying to act cold and indifferent as he supports another student who struggles.
- Kyler sharing something on the web to make everyone laugh.
These show some of their best sides, their redeeming qualities.
We get to experience these along with the hard stuff.
We know that parents and grandparents are missing out on it, but only temporarily.
To our student’s families and sponsors I would say that these young adults are at TFL to become who they are meant to be so that they can come back to you better.
But while they are here they will be cherished as long as we have the privilege to do so.
-Jason, TFL Executive Director