Well, here I am, three weeks late with posts, but I am promising myself that I will keep up with this self-proclaimed journey that I am on, and continue to share with others how simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference.
I am going to start with three weeks ago, and create three different posts about what I've been up to the past couple of weeks.
I also decided three weeks ago, that I didn't need to continually out-do myself, and each week do something more grande or elaborate, ratherI just need keep sharing how the simple things add up.
Three weeks ago, I considered my Random Act of Kindness to be the act of coaching! Wow.. what an experience coaching a junior high girls basketball team can be. I co-coach with my friend Jordan, I mean he's the real coach when it comes to plays and lines but I like to consider myself the "moral support" coach! And Boy oh Boy do we need one of those with girls aged 12-15......
So, we're off on our first away trip of the year, Grande Prairie is where we're spending our weekend, playing basketball and learning life's valuable lessons. It was the Thursday night before the trip, and my phone was going off the hook.
Parents and players contacting for questions such as this:
"Ms. McLellan, my daughter has never been away without us before, can you make sure you keep me updated on how she's doing?"
"Ms. McLellan, my daughter forgot all of her basketball clothes and shoes in the school, do you think you can let her in at 6:30am to get them?
"Ms. McLellan, my mom wants to know how much money and food I need to bring, I've never been away on a sports trip before."
"Ms. McLellan, whose room will I be sleeping in? How much money do we need? How long are we gone for? Should I bring school work? Do I need a pillow for the bus? Am I allowed to eat chips?"
Seriously.... if I had a dollar for every call and text I got from parents and students outside of the hours I put in each day at work, I'd be a millionaire, but you know what, no one pays me to do this, no one forces me or bribes me.. I do this because I love it, because I know I'm meant to be with those girls for a reason.
So.. we arrive at our Destination, 6 hours later on the bus- during which the girls mothers' were texting to make sure they were okay, girls were coming up to me asking me to braid their hair, or if they could use my phone to let their dad know they've made it safely, and each time they came to me, I felt like I had purpose and reason to be on that cold bus, on that cold day, with 11 teenage girls.
My weekend consisted of girls coming to my room crying because they thought another player was mad at them, so I consoled. I had girls upset because their "boyfriends" weren't answering their texts back, girls crying because they felt they let down the team. Girls who didn't want to eat before our games because they were scared it would make them "FAT", girls who wanted to just come lay in my room because they were the only one still awake in their room and they're a little scared and a little lonely. I had girls who mistakenly called me "mom", girls that I laughed with, and even girls I cried with. It's an indescribable experience to step outside the role of teacher, and become another adult in these girls lives. Sometimes they forget I'm there, or that I'm an authority figure and I hear their chatter and I smile, or giggle to myself because I was once a teenager, and what seems life-altering or hilarious at that time, has nothing compared to what life will throw at you later!
As the weekend came to an end, and we piled back on the bus home, and I continued to answer concerned texts from mom and dad, and continued to braid hair, talk about teenage celebrities, give advice, be the mediator, say "no" to the "can i have chips for lunch" question... I felt gratified!
This is it, this is giving back, this is kindness at it's purest form. Just from doing this last year, and the relationships and bonds I have formed with girls, I know I have a purpose here. I have received letters, and pictures, gift cards and hugs, stories from parents' about the influence I've had on their daughter. Sometimes I feel like a coach, sometimes I have to act as their mom, sometimes I think of them as my younger sisters... no matter what though- I love them for letting me into their lives <3
Huge kudos to all of the coaches out there- its often an unpaid position, one in which you give up a lot of your spare time! Its not always easy, and sometimes it's not all fun- but it is 100% always rewarding!