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I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Life from the Outside Looking In

I hope if there's one thing people know about me, it's that I'm very grateful for the good life I have.  I have bad days like everyone else, but I very genuinely feel extremely fortunate and blessed.

But sometimes, it's good to have that put back into perspective.  And let's face, I've been a little whiny lately.

This summer I had the privilege of hosting 2 very bright high school interns at my office.  My husband teaches at an at-risk high school in their magnet program.  After I spoke to their economics class, 2 of the students contacted me and asked if they could do their mandatory internship with my practice.  They were very diligent in their pursuit.

I spoke with my business partner, we were both a bit tentative about having young kids in the office.  We deal with a lot of money.  We can't afford to have just anyone work for us.  It also costs us money to have staff fingerprinted, background checked, etc.

The first day they showed up, we knew we were good to go.  They wore ties.  They had their paperwork in order.  They were very professional.  I was impressed.

After their first day in the office, they told me they were now both considering going to college.  They saw how nice it was to work in a nice office and after only a few hours, their whole world had opened into another dimension.

I was stunned.

No college?  They were smart?  What???

Then we started to talk about their, ahem, grades.  Well, they got a bit of a tongue lashing from Mama Bean.

And they both said they were happy about it.  No one had ever said anything about their grades to them.  They were both far smarter than their GPA's would have shown.  They seemed very excited about having someone notice they were smart.

Every day they were scheduled, they showed up on time, ready to work.  And they worked HARD.  In this completely foreign world, they learned office etiquette, about the economy, investments.  They worked so hard, we ran out of things for them to do.  They never questioned a task and put their whole hearts and souls into anything they were assigned.

One day, one of the interns commented that my office- just my individual office- was half the size of his house.  He said the worst part was that the room that he shared with his 18 month old brother didn't have a door.  I had a door. That was really cool.


They thought it was great when I brought them lunch from Einstein's Bagels.

I got them some logo messenger bags and shirts.  They could not have been more grateful.

Today we- Shane, the kids and I-  took them to lunch at a nice restaurant.  They were blown away by the menu.  As we drove through the nice suburban area they commented on how nice it was-- greenways, well kept houses, etc.

I have no idea what they grew up with, but this clearly was a different world.

And another door opened. 

One of them had an unfortunate issue with his school- I won't go into details- and I decided that I will fight and be his advocate.  I may not be able to do much to help, but I am going to do what I can.  He is very talented and should be a straight A student- no one ever told him that.  Even worse, no one told him that it was important and why.  Yes, their teachers do their part, but they didn't have any support at home.  School was not important.  They didn't know that you don't have to live in a tiny house or apartment with 10 people and work for someone else.  Life doesn't have to be paycheck to paycheck- that's a choice as much as getting good grades.  It's not easy, but it's not impossible.  The thought of  having a million dollars should be a goal, not a ridiculous pipedream.

I had so many great adults support me when I was a teenager.  I got to travel the world and have all kinds of wonderful experiences.  In my professional career I've been "adopted" by various mentors who have helped me.  And I will continue to do the same.

I learned a lot from working with "the boys" as we called them.  The 10 miles between our homes is a world away.  It was nice to be reminded about how fortunate I have been to have all the support I needed.

From the outside looking in.
It was also nice to see "my life" from the outside looking in-- a husband who is a partner, us as parents who care and include their children in nearly everything, an interesting and great career where I am respected, a nice home in a nice neighborhood, a nice car, a lot of fun friends that make me laugh, the ability to buy something that I want and that I play by the rules, rather than spend time and energy circumventing them.

All things that on some days, I completely and utterly take for granted.

Doesn't everyone have this life?

They don't.

I opened the doors for these kids and I will not let reality slam it in their faces. 


Anonymous said...

I love this! I wish that all children had a mentor to help propel them forward in life, like you have done with these children. It only takes one person to have a major impact on a young life. Kudos to you!

Mama Bean said...

Thanks! I have to say though, I think it's an equal trade!! They are deserving.

Helen said...

These are the same sort of lessons I learned when - at a very young age - I lived in Africa for 4 years. I have to admit they are lessons I've never forgotten. I'm so proud to call you my "virtual" friend and I just know that you will be blessed in ways you never imagined for what you have done and will do for/with these kids!