conversation with a stranger

Before college and even before I decided to major in Public Relations (I will be in my senior year this fall, 2012) a few friends and other people suggested that I become a kindergarten teacher. I have always loved kids, I'm a big kid at heart. I have worked with kids as a babysitter, in VBS and other church functions, in India... I really love working with kids. It's one of my passions. I liked the idea of being a school teacher, but I knew that I did not want to major in Elementary Education in college. Anyways, the point of this post is to tell you a story of a conversation I had with a woman while I was at work today. It was a very brief but very encouraging conversation.

A little background: This summer I am working as a day camp counselor at the YMCA in my town. Every morning when I get to work I am greeted with at least a dozen kids (ages 5 to 12) all running up to me shouting "DiDi! DiDi!" DiDi is my camp nickname. They give me little bear hugs around the waist and tug at my arm and shirt, wanting to tell me about how they scored a home run at their baseball game yesterday or how they got into trouble that morning before coming to camp. Kids say the darndest things. They are so sweet.

While at work/camp today I was taking 7 girls to the restroom (the family locker room at the Y). While walking from the gym to the restroom an older woman in a wheelchair and a young woman pushing her were also on their way to the restroom. I had the girls stop walking and stand along the wall to let the two women pass.

They passed and I gave them a couple of seconds of space so they would get the chance to get into the restroom. Once I entered the locker room my 7 girls began to take turns using the bathroom and washing hands.

The woman in the wheelchair looked at me and said "Are you a teacher?" "No ma'am I'm not," I replied simply. Then she said,"Oh, you should be you're so good with these kids. They listen to you. Do you have kids?" "Oh no ma'am I'm just a kid myself. I am just a camp counselor here," I responded. "What do you do?" she then asked. Which is kinda funny looking back because I had just told her I was a camp counselor. I then told her I was a student in college. She asked me what I was studying, I told her Public Relations. "You should be a school teacher," she said again.

I was then distracted by one of my girls asking me a question, so I just kinda politely smiled at the woman and turned away.

I don't know why but I just thought that was the sweetest little thing, our conversation. Not that she was encouraging me to be a teacher, but that from what little interaction of me and the girls that she witnessed.. she really thought I was great with kids. It's so encouraging to know that people on the outside can tell that I really care about my work as a counselor this summer. And as I gear up to return to India for 3 months this fall, working and interacting with young adults and children is going to be e huge part of that, this little "locker room conversation" was quite a comfort.