In my position as a school counselor, I have been able to talk with a lot of students and hear a lot of stories about their lives. Some of these stories are funny and some can be very sad. I always get inspired this time of year as the students turn in their essays for the R.K. Thompson scholarship. This scholarship is based on a students self reliance. In other words, how they have made it through some tough struggles in their life and still managed to be an outstanding student and citizen. These students manage to make it against all odds and excel in school and also usually work a lot of hours. I don't know if I would have been able to go through some of the things that they have had to go through and still be successful. I believe we have a lot of great candidates this year and I am excited to see the scholarship winners for 2017.
As I was thinking about the R.K. Thompson scholarship, I couldn't help but think about the students on the other side of the spectrum. I'm talking about the students who look they have it all together. They still have both parents living at home, they have food on the table every night and they drive nice cars or trucks. They usually play in a sport or two and are almost always on the honor roll. I'm sure you are thinking as you read this, "what's wrong with those students, they have it made". Well believe it or not, I also see those students in my office. I have sat across from these students and watched them as they teared up and told me stories about how they are outcast because everyone thinks they have it made. Others think that they are spoiled or that they have a life that everyone would envy. They actually can't make friends because "they just don't fit in". Mr. Unverferth talked about perception in one of his blogs and I can tell you that these students hurt because of the perception that others have of them. As I talk with these students, I hear stories of alcoholism, keeping family secrets, acting like everything is okay and also a lack of love. I hear these students tell me that they have never been told they are loved or even had the chance to hug a parent because of fear.
I really want to mention this because maybe we are all guilty of judging others wrongly. Maybe we tend to think some people have it all together when they really don't. I hope that we will keep this in mind when we encounter someone. I hope we will truly listen to everyone and allow ourselves to be open minded. To take the time to really get to know the people around us. I believe we are all really tired of all the hate in politics and in the world today. We can't change the world overnight but maybe by trying to understand a little bit about our neighbor, we can make our world a little bit better. The old saying really is true, "Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins.