One of my players asked me a few weeks ago if everything is ok.
Lee J, are you doing ok? You’re not like you were last year. You aren’t as happy and don’t act the same.
Hearing that from a fifteen year old is a bit humbling. I don’t try to hide the fact I’m not the same, but I didn’t expect a teenager to notice (general self-absorbency, etc).
Since then, she and I have had some interesting discussions about why she’s more externally aware than most or her age group. Going through really difficult times will mature you very quickly. She’s been through more trauma and difficulty than any young person should go through, and although she says she lives with memories and struggles everyday, she keeps going.
That level of resilience inspires me. She’s encouraged me to care for myself, to overcome what I’m struggling with. Her struggles have forged her into a strong young woman.
One of the things I called her before this time was “kid.” I can’t do that anymore. She’s far more mature than a child, and calling her “kid” would disrespect her growth through her trials. Like any of us, she’s a person. She deserves recognition for her growth.
I didn’t expect to have a fifteen year-old inspire me the way she has. Kudos to her and to her parents who love her dearly.