Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Becoming an honorary 6th grader

I'm in between 4th and 5th grade, but recently I was in the 6th grade. Let me explain. Dad had been asked to teach the 6th grade at the school where my brothers go because they had been having problems getting along and receiving new members of their group. This was a Christian school, and I was surprised that kids even needed help with that. Dad thought it would be a good idea if I came too. He decided to take us to a park on an island.

When we were on the island, we walked to a specific spot. Dad was going to teach trust in this area. We did "trust falls", which are games where one person stands behind another, and the other has to fall back and trust that the person behind will catch him. We did that for a while before Dad taught us a little lesson on needing to trust people, and we moved on. (Note: I am being ignored at this point. Nobody has talked or looked at me, even though I know a few from church.)

We got to the next area where some pipes were lying around not hooked up yet. The group was supposed to make their way across the top of one pipe without falling off. We had a couple of minutes, and after a couple of tries, we finally made it. After we had finished, we came back to Dad, who asked if anybody felt that their ideas had not been listened to. One girl said that had happened to her and started to cry. We sat down to talk about it. I don't know what happen
ed then because Dad was too busy to translate, but it took over a half hour for the kids to figure out that they had to say "sorry" and apologize to the girl who had cried. (Note: I am still being ignored.)

We next came to a large river where we were given a certain amount of time to get the entire group of ten across in a boat that could only hold two. That game we did not complete since we ran out of time. I didn't know how to use a boat; I was not included; and I was helpless, since Dad had told me that he had "forgotten" English for the day. (Note: I am still being ignored, even when I asked for help.)

We next got to a large concrete cylinder, and Dad told us to get in. We had to get out of the cylinder
without touching the top rim, which was very difficult. Everybody thought that since I was the smallest, I should go out first. I didn't want to go out first so I just firmly said "No, I don't want to. Nyet, nee xhochu!" The kids persisted, first being nice, then reasoning with pressure. When I was left with two boys, they tried asking me, "Why don't you want to come out?" I said, "I want to be last." While they were trying to talk me into leaving again, a much older boy came up from behind and tried picking me up and throwing me out. He is the one on the right in the picture. I struggled to get out of his arms until he let me go with a loud groan. Finally I was the only one left. While I was trying to get out myself by holding on to two girls hands and walking up the side, I touched the top by chance. Dad says the entire group should have had to get back in at that point, but since we had been doing it an hour, Dad let just me go back. I climbed in and let a bunch of people help me like they thought might be best. Finally I succeeded, and that ended the day, mostly. (Note: Even though I was ignored all during the day, after this challenge, the kids started to talk to me, even the older boys. This was a great example of how being stubborn can help sometimes.)

Even at other places, like church and the school, where I see those kids now, I am still not ignored. I have been sometimes very stubborn and only now did I realize I could be that stubborn. I don't know whether this is good or bad, but it certainly has helped a lot. I think I did it because I had been ignored the entire day as a way of saying, "I'm not a small baby that needs to listen to everybody." God told me later on that the way I got their attention was an OK way, but I could have done it some better ways.