Why do I wake up before the sun rises, drive 20+ km away, spend 6-7 hours, some under the hot burning sun, sweat, stress, and all that every Saturday morning?
Here's why. Yesterday we recorded a total number of 101 with 53 seniors and 48 juniors & pre-juniors, 30 of which comes from an orphanage.
Seniors. Ranging from age 13-18.
Juniors. Ranging from age 9 - 12.
And finally Pre-juniors. Ranging from age 6-8.
I just recently took up the role of a Pre-Junior Section officer-in-charge again, as we lack in manpower. I currently have about 10 of them under my care. I love being with them. They infuriate me, they make me repeat myself over and over and over again, they ask questions non-stop. Yet, at the end of the day, I breath a sigh of relief and comfort myself with the knowledge that I have done my best.
Yesterday I taught them about listening to God, hence the ears.
This is Steven, a boy from the orphanage that we sponsor. When he first came, he disrupt everything and everybody. Very often, you'll hear a loud 'Steven!!!' being call out, and he will be right smack in the middle of either a picking a quarrel, a fighting match or tears. And more often than not, his will be a face of rebellion, stony, cold and gangster-ish. But after I spend some time with him in class, being patience, he is different. He is still disruptive sometimes, but its just him being overactive. He is very bright, loves doing puzzles, knows a lot of bible stories, remembers things he is taught and when he smiles, is a changed face. No longer the gangster 'fight me' face, but sweet and charming.
This is Issac - super hyperactive and picks on anyone close to him. More often than not, I will be spending my time scolding him. I'm sorry, Lord. Teach me patience. He is smart, but talks too much for his own good.
This adorable boy, Gordon, is one of our newest addition but its hard not to like him. He smiles a lot, does his work well (gosh, just check his colouring and work), and is well-mannered. Not only that, he comes with his adorable, super cute 2-years old baby sister. His mother sits and wait for him in school the entire 3 1/2 hours. My kind of parents. She is patience, is thankful, she doesn't disrupt, she just sits at the side and wait and that's being very supportive.
But with all the stress and sweat, you know what makes me 'damn' mad? It's not spoilt kids, its not their disobedience or their undisciplined, or the knowledge that whatever I tells them goes out the other ear the minute they walk away, or their disrespect, or their failure to carry out their responsibilities, or just plain ' i'm bored, I want to get out of here' or their disruptiveness.
1. Parents' who expects a transformation or miracle the minute their child/children becomes a brigadier. Hello??? We spend only 1/2 a day with them every week. If we can transform someone, we will be like god. No, not even after 5 years. It won't be if the other 6 1/2 days, they goes back to their old ways. It works both ways, we help you, you got to help us to.
2. Parent's who treats us like garbage. FYI, all officers are volunteers. We don't get paid, we don't need to do this. But we choose to do. So saying a thank you or a hi or even a smile every now and then will really encourage us. Don't walk past us like we are bags of garbage by the sidewalk, or walking into the hall/classroom whenever you wish without even asking/acknowledging us. It's disrespectful.
3. Parent's who complains till the sky drops. Please, if Closing Parade ends 5 or 10 minutes late, don't threaten to take your child/ren away from BB. We try our very best to be on time as punctuality is very important; but sometimes things come in the way and if we have to make them stay back, please understand. I know the sun is too hot, but I can't control the sun. Doing push-ups or drill is just a way of strengthening them physically and mentally, so please don't try to bail them out with doctors' letters. But if you really need to complain, please do it to my face and not behind my back.
4. Overprotective parents. I know you want what's best for your child/ren but you not helping them if you over-protect them. Helping them carry their bags, taking them home when you hear a tiny sniffle, bringing them umbrellas or water, not allowing them to come for camps, making them stay at home because exams are in 2 weeks time, all this will damage your child/ren.
Please don't protect them. Help them to take risk, to embrace failures, to be independent, to feel pain and fear, to experience things, to learn how to deal with conflict and problems, to manage their own time and their lives, to grow up knowing that no matter how much the world throws at them, they emerge stronger not by avoidance but by embracing it.
Tim Elmore says "If we treat our kids as fragile, they will surely grow up to be fragile adults. We must prepare them for the world that awaits them. Our world needs resilient adults not fragile ones."
And I absolutely agrees with him. We officers tries our very best, and you know parents, we need your support too.
I'm sorry if I over-ranted :) This is very close to my heart, and for all those people out there who question why do I waste my time every Saturday, I hope you can now understand a little of why.
I trying to make a change. I am trying to make a difference.
And if all these fails, at least I did try.
Now the question is back to you, "What have you done? Are you making a difference with your life?"