Last week I was in the halls of our local high school on my way to meeting with a student. Two girls, whom I have known for several years now, were walking a short distance ahead of me and unaware that I was among the pack walking a short distance behind. One of them was carrying an iPod and sharing one set of earphones between them, so that a skinny, long white wire dangled back and forth between them as they walked to class. The girls rounded the corner and turned to head up the stairs….together…
At that moment the flow of bodies traveling up and down the stairway forced the two girls to the middle of a wide open doorway. One girl went right around the narrow center partition and the other, you guessed it, went left. The wires snapped out of their ears with such force that the earphones spun partially around the middle of the door frame! Talk about a funny scene and a very “blond” moment.
The board of health next to my office makes condoms available free of charge (a State statute in MA) to anyone who wants them. As we all know too well, like it or not, some teens today are sexually active, so from time to time (okay, fairly often!) I remind teens who attend our weekly teen support group to make sure that they use protection. “Can’t” says one boy looking me straight-faced and serious. “I break them all. I’m just too big.” With groans and laughter from other teens nearby, I tried to maintain my professional composure hoping to set the young man straight. Staring down at his skater shoes he said, “Dude, look! I’ve got huge feet!”
My motto? Always good to leave some work for another day.
We offer a weekly support group for middle school-aged girls called Girl Power. One day last year, with juice and snacks in hand, the girls settled down for our usual discussion and check-in period. This particular group is, for me, the highlight of my week. Discussion is (almost) always enriching, spirited and thoughtful to say the least. That particular week one of the more rambunctious girls piped up and said, “You know, I talked so much today in school that my mouth hurts!” There was utter silence immediately following her comment, until she decided to respond to her own statement. “Geez, that sounded really dumb, huh?” Heads nodded everywhere.
Ten children, grades two and three tumble in for their group meeting on Tuesdays. They talk about coping with changes in their families, especially about moms and dads who are separating and moving towards divorce. The topic changes each week, and we spend a fair amount of time on how each individual is doing within their families and the world around them. Last fall one boy asked, “Aren’t we talking about self-esteem today?” “No,” admonished a girl sitting nearby, “We finished with self-esteem last week. We’re done with that.”