On May 4, 2010, I wrote the following:
Today I cried again at school. I used to do this every Wednesday after my lunch. I thought I would have stopped by now. It felt horrible and at the same time it was somehow a relief to let it all out. I was throwing a pity party; a very sad pity party. It is exhausting feeling like a failure: so much responsibility isn't good for people. I knew intellectually even at the time that it wasn't real. But lord.
This afternoon I found out that one of our highest flying math students, a kid who tutored for us last year, takes 12th grade math in the 10th grade, devours new ideas, loves a challenge and excels in math, is failing all his other classes. Failing. In danger of repeating the year. WTF!?
I've never actually taught this kid, but we say hello when we see each other. He's got that rare maturity that chicken or eggs the mathematical discipline and resilience. I just happened to see him in the office right after school and grabbed him.
"Do you mind if I get in your business?"
We talked for 30 minutes about what motivates him, why he's failing, what he wants. He wants to be interested, he wants competition among his peers, he wants people to care about him, he wants to please those people, he wants to go to college. Maybe he wants to transfer schools, maybe he wants to do his homework, maybe not. He said no one had talked to him like this before. He didn't realize anybody noticed or cared. Crap.
It's not important figuring out how to get what you want. It's important simply to figure out what you want, and to keep your eyes there. Then it's easy taking one step and then another.
I'm going through my blog, taking my free evening to sort and edit and finish. I liked finding this record of time. It reminds me how hard I have been on myself (omg, please let me be just a little bit more patient with myself next year; let my presence and joy sustain me) and how time passes and things change. I kept crying till school ended, that didn't get better really, but I ended up teaching meditation after school on Wednesdays after I wrote this post, and this same kid came every week. It was great. I learned a ton. We had a good time meditating at school. I got to offer something to a kid who accepted it without a fight. I am so grateful. I am so grateful. I am so grateful. That's what it's all about even in the toughest moments: gratitude for simply being able to serve.