Personally satisfying interactions

Engaging 7-9 year olds in an activity that takes focus is not always easy. As I walked toward a game of kickball, I spotted some of the kids locked into the action, while others were turning cartwheels in left field or pretend sword fighting with the extra bats. I heard one houseparent call out, “Anyone who is laying down on the field will have an early bedtime tonight!” I sat and watched for a while, grinning the whole time at the kids’ antics. The score didn’t really matter all that much – they were having fun being active and being outside, which is all that really matters, right?

They invited me to tell them more about myself and my life experiences.

About once a month our High School Sons of Tradition group has been having in elders come talk with them about life. While they’ve been hearing from tribal members, tonight they invited me to tell them more about myself and my life experiences. We covered a wide range of topics including what I learned from sports, how and when I heard the call to religious life, facing illness and disappointment, prayer, attitudes toward drinking, and what I believe are some of the things that do (or don’t) make a man a man.

They too are at the stage in their life where they’re wrestling with significant issues in life. They stayed engaged and asked many follow-up questions, so it wasn’t just a monologue.  Getting away from policies, plans and procedures and just having some straight talk from the heart made it one of my more personally satisfying interactions on campus in quite a while.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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