Summer is supposed to be a season of rest, but nowadays it seems to be busier than ever. Between summer classes, mandatory overtime and full weekends, it’s been hard to find times to unwind and take my mind off of everything going on around me. So when the fourth day this week of our summer program rolled around I felt burnt out and not wanting to go. All I wanted was to lie down and not be with anyone for a bit. But I went, and it turned out to be the rest that I needed. Not a physical rest of lying down for a nap, but in the mental rest of being able to forget the worries I had and just play soccer and draw with chalk and laugh with these kids that I had so quickly come to care about . When eight o’clock hit that night and all of the kids ran off to continue playing, I went home and laid down. My body was still tired but I felt rejuvenated and content. I felt at ease and ready for more.
Recently it has felt like the Lord has been trying to show me what it is like to find rest in the midst of being busy and when I may not necessarily think I have time for the rest I have in my mind. This felt like a tap on the shoulder from Him saying, “I know your body is tired, but look at this opportunity you have. I’ll provide you with the energy you need if you do what is needed of you.”
So yes, I’m still tired, and I probably won’t find some rest for awhile. But I feel mentally rested and ready for another week of program, and the rest that comes from it.
2018 Neighbors’ House Summer Intern
It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to just hang out and talk with people that are younger than me. For what seems like the past three or four years I have been in conversation and community with those my age or older. And of course that’s what supposed to happen when you go to college and I’m so grateful to be in school and I love my friends and the conversations I have with them. But the past two weeks at the Gideon Court and Conexion Comunidad programs have been the refresh that I didn’t even know I needed. I had spent so much time with adults that I forgot what it was like to just be silly and laugh and learn with kids younger than me.
The first week of the Neighbors’ House summer came at our Gideon Court program, where we learned all about outer space during our Summer Space Adventure Program, a more holistic approach to the normal Summer Reading Program, where we introduced math and science alongside the reading and art that we normally teach.
Being able to come alongside these kids and watch them work through the concept of gravity and how it works on different planets, design lunar landers out of marshmallows, straws and paper, and create space themed suncatchers felt like a breath of fresh air. Every student not only participated in the activities planned during our time there, but seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing and eager to learn. I was amazed at how creative and talented the students were in designing a lunar lander that would safely land without harming the marshmallow “astronauts.” The volunteers explained the activity and stepped back as the students made up their own designs for the lander, each one different from the other.
However, what we were doing most of during the programs was laughing. Laughing because of the sassiness of a student, laughing at the endless jokes being cracked, laughing when the moonball bounced off someone’s head and laughing just because someone else was laughing. This may sound like a joke, but those kids are the funniest people I’ve met. I’ve been thinking about how much joy those students had and how refreshing it has felt to just goof around and be silly for awhile.
I tried to introduce a new, space-themed form of tag to the students one day. One where students had to hold hands once they got tagged and try to tag the others. There is something about the unhinged joy and chaos of twelve little kids running around, not really understanding the rules of “constellation tag” that makes you just stop and laugh. They don’t need some special version of tag. All they want is a space to run around in and normal, no frills, non-themed tag. And that’s what I like about being with students, they are simple, they just want to learn and laugh. I’m looking forward to the surprises, goofiness, laughter, and learning of the programs still to come this summer.
2018 Neighbors’ House Summer Intern