Just this week I volunteered to help out during the lunch hour in our school cafeteria. I was very against this at the beginning of the year seeing as I did it all year last year and it was 0% fun. Loud kids screaming across the gymnasium, sauce spilling everywhere, sticky packets to open from even stickier little hands, and too. much. garbage. Count me OUT.
But then of course, plea after plea I finally caved. I decided I’d work in the cafeteria until the end of the year. Pray for me.
Today was only day two but I’ve already learned one very valuable thing. The kids that make the most noise, the most mess, and are the most demanding, want and need the most love. They crave just a conversation. A conversation with an adult who, for just a minute, can take an interest in them as more than the “problem child.” Some of my most treasured relationships in this building are my relationships with the kiddos who throw the most tantrums and are sent to the office most frequently. Now, granted, I don’t teach these students all day every day so I don’t pretend to know what it’s like hour after hour in a small classroom with these students who demand attention however they can achieve it. But I do have the lunch room. I do have time for minute conversations. I can give them that.
Who comes to mind when you think of “problem child” or “problem friend”? What can you do differently? Can you spare just a conversation?