“Young people need models, not critics.”
~ John Wooden ~
Passing on Knowledge and Chances to Young People
I realized that I have been AWOL from my blog for a little bit. Part of that was getting back in the swing of work, healing, and I have been writing in a different forum. I began writing a story geared towards young people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and the general f’d up period of being a teenager.
The idea is to let them know that they are not weird, a problem, or alone. A lot of us have grown up with these things and were taught through society to hide the feelings that don’t fit in. Whatever makes you up as a person is just that, and you will change and learn new things as you grow, but you are you. You should not have to be “accepted” by people around you in the sense that they try to make allowances for you, but you should be loved unconditionally.
I am not sure how long this story will be or where it goes from here. What I do hope is that I can somehow get it into a kid’s hands that need to hear that they are “normal” whatever that is. If that one young person reads it and something in there helps them feel better and more accepted, then, it has been a success.
This past Friday at work I had a chance to practice giving a kid the benefit of the doubt, with the help of a very level headed coworker I must admit. I had already given this kid a chance because he was not completely truthful during his interview about some experience. Here it was, Friday of his first week and he was not at work to start his shift. I initially took this personally and as a slap in the face for giving him a shot. Looking for a voice of reason I asked two coworkers for reasons not to be at work and not to call. They gave me a couple, one of which was “sometimes things just happen”. Damn the reasoning, but it bought him some time. I filled out his termination paper but said I would wait until 9:00 (two hours past his start time) to send it.
He flew in the door at 8:36 am and told me he would be right back to talk to me as soon as he clocked in. I told him to wait right where he was since I was busy on the dock. I finished what I was doing and turned to him, disappointed and very irritated. He began immediately telling me that it would never happen again, that his phone dies and that was his only alarm clock, told me how sorry he was and how much he needed to keep this job. My initial response was for him to go back home and I would let him know what I decided to do. He continued to tell me how much trouble he was going to be in if he lost this job right now.
I told him to go clock, get with his trainer and that we would talk later. I assured him that this didn’t mean he was keeping his job. For the duration of the day, I maintained my disappointed and irritated look whenever I saw him. He came to me after he clocked out at the end of the day to get my final decision. I respect anyone, especially a 21-year-old who knows that he screwed up, to not just sneak out at the end of the day and just show up Monday hoping all is forgotten. I went a little scared straight on him and told him that next time there would not even be a discussion. He was now playing with two strikes. He thanked me for the opportunity and let out a huge sigh of relief as he walked out of my office. I hope it pays off.