I made a Peter Pan purse for a teacher I admire and took it to her summer school classroom, a few weeks after I had told the our story to her students. As soon as they saw me through the open door, several students called out, "It's Karen! Hi Karen!" Have to admit that made me feel good. My friend loved the purse (as did the students) but what happened next is the reason for this post.
Quick backstory -- swimming against the current is harder some weeks than others. This week was one of those. Adults in my world feel the need to tell me that talking to teens about sexual self-control is a waste of time. Usually I don't care what people say, because I've SEEN what happens, but sometimes that negative drip, drip, drip leaks in and leaves an emotional skidmark.
Anyway, this class (all juniors & seniors) had taken a LOT away from my time with them. While they had heard several guest speakers also share their life experiences involving others topics, my story and Jim's (they said) changed things. Their words. It changed things.
I asked, "By a show of hands, how many of you have had a conversation with someone else about something you heard from that day?" Almost every hand went up. They had talked to friends, siblings and teammates about poor choices, starting over, lies they believed... and the utter devastation of trusting the "tingly" feelings. I was overwhelmed.
But it got even better...
After class a young woman approached me -- wearing her "I am worth waiting for" pin! She said, "I want you to know that day made a real difference, not only because I had ended a relationship, but now I have a new love interest, significant other. Anyway, he saw my pin, and said, 'I know what that means, and I totally respect your decision.' I just want to thank you. You did that."
I told her that alone made all the rough road worth it. I was honored. She let me hug her -- I'm still not sure which of us was more impacted by her decision.