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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pass them the Torch

Welcome to Pass the Torch Tuesday, where bloggers share simple and stupendous times kids make us proud. Guidelines are simple:

1. Write about catching a kid being good.
2. Link to here from your post.
3. Permalink your post from here.

Join us with a story or comment. And visit all the participating bloggers! Complete guidelines and former PTT links are HERE.

Pass them the Torch

I'll interrupt my regularly scheduled bragfest about my kids to mention another young person I wrote an article about several years ago.

As a high school guidance counselor I advised a SPARK Peer Tutoring club. During one of our monthly meetings to discuss service projects, one sophomore, Josh, suggested we start a SPARK program at the middle school.

Although this seemed like a great idea, there were many reasons I did not want to get involved. There was little communication between the staff at the middle school and high school, so I did not have a reliable contact there. And I had no way of personally advising a program in another building. I felt that our high school group was already going out of its way to help as tutors at the middle school and I really did not feel like taking on any more responsibility.

But Josh was not expecting me to deal with any of those issues. He was suggesting a project to the group and several members seemed quite interested. So rather than communicate all the roadblocks, I just removed myself from the lead. Instead, I empowered them to find the answers to their own questions. That's really all they needed or wanted from me anyway.

Within months, Josh led the group to identify and connect with interested middle school staff. He wrote and received a grant to fund the project, facilitated a training for eighth grade tutors and handed over a well-organized peer tutoring program to the new middle school advisor.

And I never lifted a finger.

How often we assume that the ideas generated by kids are just going to add to our plate. I wonder how many times I've shot down suggestions from my own children because I just don't want more responsibility?

Have a garage sale. Wash the car. Plant a garden. Stain the deck.

All my kids really need is a little rein, and for their mother to not worry so much about the fact it might not work out exactly "right."

I say, if they want to take the torch? Pass it to them.
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  • oooo... I've just been WAITING to get mine posted!

    By Blogger Knitting Maniac, At 8:23 PM  

  • Great story! You've given me some food for thought as Snuggle Bug gets older. I want to remember how important it is to empower him and to give him the creative license to do things his way, rather than expecting him to do things the "right" way.

    By Blogger Overwhelmed!, At 11:48 PM  

  • I'm guilty of saying no for that reason too Kelly. I'll have to try harder...

    By Anonymous Kallie, At 1:30 AM  

  • Josh sounds pretty remarkable; no wonder he (this story) left an impression on you years later :). For a lot of years, I made the WRONG assumption I needed to do "this" or "that"; if no one else stepped up to say "yes", that must've meant I needed to be the "one". How...presumptuous!

    Maybe it's age, or maybe it's just God's grace, those presumptions have fallen by the wayside. Allowing others to shine, giving others opportunity to share their gifts, always yields blessings to me, too.

    This post is a wonderful challenge to follow suit!

    By Blogger Robin, At 10:46 AM  

  • Reading your post inspired me to allow my kids to help me more, that it isn't more responsibility for me, but a chance to spend more time with them...
    Thanks Kelly!!
    I agree Josh is an incredible inspiration and amazing young man!

    By Blogger Christine, At 12:39 PM  

  • Great reminders of how much we need to work against underestimating these young folks.

    By Blogger Shelley, At 1:12 PM  

  • Wow! That's impressive that he would take the lead and others would follow so willingly to get the group started.

    Hmmm...I, too, wonder what my children would/could do if given just a little bit more freedom.

    By Blogger Tonya, At 2:48 PM  

  • Great story. It is so hard as the teacher or parent to let the kids go with ideas. We aren't control freaks are we?! :)My oldest (8) is full of ideas and I find myself instantly looking at what won't work instead of letting him figure out how to make it work or why it won't.

    By Anonymous Stephanie, At 5:30 PM  

  • Thank you all for your comments and participation in Pass the Torch Tuesday.

    I love Tuesdays!!

    Stephanie - I am a control freak, which is why it's so healthy for me to consciously think about how to empower my kids. Thank you for commenting!

    By Blogger Pass The Torch, At 11:54 AM  

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