I feel like every week I end up feeling full of love and happiness and wanting to express that. I’m trying to be more diverse in my writing but ultimately aren’t blogs supposed to be about how you feel? From a personal standpoint, those feelings aren’t the same feelings every week. They come from different places and I’m actually really lucky to consistently feel that way at the end of each week. So this week, I’ll try to write about that stuff with different angles. Here we go.
Remember a couple weeks ago, I wrote about a child that was sad when I left work? I got to see them again this week! I am always surprised at how close I feel when I work with children. I learn so much when I work with them. I never thought I would enjoy this aspect of my internship as much as I do. They have taught me the most! And they are almost always my favorite, most meaningful parts of the week (that is the times I am at my placement and not with my internship group).
When I was leaving this time, they were sad but they were making a game of it. They kept running around the office and bursting out from corners and doorways to scream, “안녕” (annyeong-bye)”. I couldn’t stop laughing and we were just laughing and chasing each other for five minutes. I felt bad for the people still in office but a part of me doesn’t care. Those five minutes meant so much more to me than being polite (although I hope we didn’t bother them too much). As I walked to the elevator, they slipped out of the main door and said very seriously, “사랑해요” (saranghaeyo-I love you).
Love is so universal that I could feel how much they meant it. From not wanting me to leave to bringing snacks because they knew they would see me and I love snacks…..this child. I am overwhelmed. And humbled. And I want to cry from how much this child makes me feel so loved and important even though that is my job. I am supposed to make them feel loved and important and needed. This child treats me so well and I am overwhelmed. It made me conscious of how very few people in my life are as straightforwardly loving and honest with me as this child. Point-blank, they stood before me and made sure I knew I was loved by them. That’s so brave. That’s so bad-ass. I am learning so much from this child. You know?? I hope you know how it feels to have someone look at you the way this child looked at me. To be fully present and there and say without self-consciousness, “I love you”. I needed to write about that this week. Because I think this is one of my most precious lessons from this internship. This is a memory I want to take with me afterwards. That moment (all of those moments) I hope future interns get. Those are the bits that change me the most.
A more coherent lesson from this week is the realization that I am learning so much on how to be with people. Just from working with kids and learning about resource parents, I think these two months have made me 100x a better potential parent than I could have ever imagined. I used to think I was good with kids. I babysit, I tutor….but now I think I’m more conscious of what kids pick up on. There’s stories behind this realization but basically I used to think I was too boring for kids to ever truly like me. There are some people who are so dynamic! I am just me. What I am best at giving is sitting with people and listening to them. I am good at being there for people. I have learned the times that I am good at entertaining people is when I am myself and not trying to imitate someone else’s dynamic-ness. So I didn’t think I would be “dynamic” enough for kids to be entertained by me. (whatever that means)
I’m learning that children don’t want to be entertained so much as be. I can do that. Especially the children I am working with, they come from places where grown-ups aren’t always trust worthy. So I think if I had been super friendly in the beginning it would have been scary. But because I just ask them how they are and what they want to do, I think they trust me more. I am consistently there. I don’t tell them how they should be or what they should say. I ask them how they feel and why they should feel that way. I ask them their opinions. I take them seriously. And when we’re together they get to control the space without fear of me hurting them.
So a lot of what I do involves making sure that I treat the area we are in as their room. I don’t move closer unless they move closer or ask me too. I don’t ask for information they don’t want to give me. I listen a lot. And nod and accept what they are saying. It hits me how simple all of that is. I think a lot of my friends now are looking for the same thing(s) in their relationships. We are all looking for people who want to know us for who we are! And I’m really grateful that I can try to do that for the children I get to watch.