Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau
This is the most well-known line from the Challenge Day program thanks to the MTV program of the same title. The students do not walk into the room and then suddenly just open up to tell the world their inner fears, hidden dreams and personal battles. The statement only begins after several hours of skillful door opening by the Challenge day team.
I saw these doors open with the students in my “family” group as we moved through the day. They opened their hearts and soon were sharing challenges as well as support for each other. For the sake of the promised confidentiality, I will not write about who I was with or what was said. What I will say is that I know their attitude about teenage life was different by the end of the day. The common theme was. “I did not know so many others had these same issues.” “Now I don’t feel so alone.”
As adults facilitators, we fully participated in the program including crossing the line and completing the “if you really knew me” statement.
What did I share? I told that kids that if you really knew me, they would know that as an adult and parent I often live my life in fear too. Fear of losing my job due to the poor economy. Fear of failing as a parent. Fear of failing as husband. Fear of feeling the lump again as I did that morning 12 years ago. Fear of not fulfilling the positive destiny God intends for my life and on and on.
My point with this openness was to let them know we all have our doubts and sometimes parents let these fears create unhealthy behaviors through overwork, avoidance, harshness, withdrawal, conflict and more.
Seeing that even the 43 year old stranger sitting here was not all that different or in fact perfect seemed to connect with them.
I think the Thoreau quote discribes most of us. The fact that is you too are not alone.
If brave enough to release your song even you may find yourself in the midst of a joyous chorus of love and healing soon thereafter. It all starts with that first note!
If I only knew you what would you say?