I love talking to students. My favorite part is what they learn about themselves–the moment when I read what everyone is going through and when the students recognize their classmates are dealing with some serious issues.
The post-it note interaction is such a simple exercise. But the discoveries we make together are not. I’m always shocked by what I read on those notes.
What’s more, so are the students.
Social anxiety, rape, murdered siblings or parents, anorexia and more. Some of these kids have lost several loved ones in the space of a year and they carry that with them not knowing what to do with the hurt.
All I do is tell them how I worked through the pain of losing my son, Charles to suicide. I let them know my strength didn’t come from pushing it away but by crying enough tears to fill a bathtub and being OK with that. Those who applauded my strength never saw me curled up on the floor of my shower screaming and crying. Yet letting the pain in and crying it out is what moved me forward.
After I speak to this class, in particular, I get a packet of letters. It’s like getting treasure. Who sends letters anymore? What students send letters at all? These do and I keep them all.
If I had to run out of a burning house, after alerting my husband and my dog, I’d grab the baby photo albums and these letters. Like that credit card commercial says. Priceless.