Friday, 16 August 2013

Change Of Heart

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"You change your life by changing your heart."- Max Lucado

For the year 2013, I made a list of resolutions that I actually intended to achieve. Included on the list were my plans to become more involved. It was with this in mind that I decided to join the Rotaract Club of Sangre Grande Central. Before I can become an official, pinned member, I’ve had to show my interest by attending meetings, and participating in the club’s events. I think of it as a hazing period of sorts, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Last week Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to accompany the club to a Summer (I prefer July/ August Vacation) Camp for Children in Sans Souci. Now, I was not enthusiastic about attending. You see, I REALLY dislike dealing with children. I find most of them, except my mini me, Brendon, to be annoying, insolent, hard to handle, difficult to talk to and connect with, and loud. Furthermore, their unbridled honesty unnerves me and spending time with them makes me miserable. Gosh, I’m a regular old Scrooge! Thus, after a great deal of coaxing, I found myself standing in a sweltering, community centre, in front of 30 or so children.

The Camp Director, let’s call her Lisa, introduced us and the Club’s President, Darcel told the children about our plans for the day (we were going to do an Arts and Crafts project with kite paper, and play board games). Meanwhile, I was giving off this very awkward energy because I felt so unsure of myself. I didn’t know how I should stand, where I should put my hands (I settled for my pockets), or what my face should look like. Sigh! I was snapped out of my reverie at the sound of my name, and I gave an awkward salute, as a way of greeting. Let the games begin!

The first activity was the Arts and Crafts project. I have no idea what’s the technical term for it, but it basically involved rolling up differently coloured squares of kite paper and sticking them to a photo with glue. I tried to delay the inevitable by helping sort the kite paper, but I soon found myself sitting at a very small table with a group of 4-6 year olds. I was nervous at first, but after a pep talk to myself, I decided to get it over with. I sat, started helping, felt my anxiety melt away, and realised, to my chagrin, that I was enjoying myself.

I met Kayla, Renee, Tevin, Reesa, Taylon, Lulu and Merkayle. They were so precious, eager to learn, and actually listened when they were spoken to. There was no attitude or preconceptions, just love and innocence. I especially bonded with Reesa- a 5-year old, whose demeanour was similar to mine. She was sassy, outspoken, bossy, and had a “plaster for every sore”. She was a riot; constantly challenging Renee and the others, and she even admonished Lulu for being greedy. I laughed so much at that, and I felt bad, afterward. I had to remind her on several occasions about the importance of kindness and sharing and being patient, but I’m not sure she heard me. She was very busy with her duck!

Chilling with the kids
After a brief lunch, a walk to the beach and a light snack, it was time for the afternoon’s activity. I wanted so much to remain indoors and play board games, but I was sent outdoors, so I had no other choice but to feign interest in cricket. Although I didn’t play cricket, I had the most riveting conversation with Tevin. We spoke about his watch collection and his love of cars. He seemed genuinely surprised when I told him that I can’t drive and encouraged me to learn to do so as soon as possible, so I could get a “bad car”. Then, he ran off to push Taylon and whisper in Renee’s ears. So friggin’ cute!

Although some of the older ones seemed to reinforce my views of children with their rudeness, it did not faze me. I now believe that most children ARE a joy to be around and not very complicated. I even got some hugs at the end. I felt my world open up. Maybe, I’ll have one of my own, and put them up for adoption when they turn 7. Sounds like a plan!

The kids, displaying their art, accompanied by other club members

Until the next post!