Hello again to all my friends and fellow readers. I have a brief anecdote to share this time about a pleasant and enlightening experience that I’m lucky to have had over the course of the past month. It was one that helped drive home an important life lesson, and at the same time it provided me with a boost of positive energy.
I had learned about this unique opportunity through an announcement in the weekly bulletin at my church in Bloomingdale. A local program was in need of volunteer tutors to help young kids reinforce their basic skills over the summer months. Agreeing to help out, I spent three recent Wednesday evenings over at West Milford’s community center, guiding elementary school-aged children through workbook exercises in everything from long division to counting pocket change to identifying the difference between common and proper nouns.
Admittedly I was hesitant at first to get my feet wet, so to speak, since the job description was destined to be quite a shift of gears from computing solubility coefficients; modeling chemical reactors; or performing mass balances. To my surprise, though, I had little trouble making the adjustment, as long as I remembered to keep in mind my pupils’ age and to approach these topics from their perspective.
Many of you reading this blog have had experience in education – be it with the Sunday school curriculum or in the past – and thus I know you can surely relate to how rewarding it feels to know you’re touching a young mind; that you might very well be able to help shape the life of a future scientist or Nobel laureate.
Though certainly not my first tutoring experience – not by a long shot – this one taught me a few things about myself, and also reminded me of some valuable lessons for later on in life. Everyone learns at a different rate; thinks individually; forms their opinions in a different way. Isn’t keeping that in mind essentially the gist of coexisting with others in general – regardless of age, race, or whatever? To always be able to step back and see things from another’s point of view. Patience and tolerance are important keys to life.
In fact, while I admit it’s a stretch from tutoring elementary school kids, this blog entry got me thinking there’s a lot of merit in the gift given to me by my grandparents when they were still here: the plaque, hanging by my nightstand, on which an unnamed Native American prays to his Almighty:
“Grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins.”
That sums up, quite well I feel, a lesson that, if everyone were to keep in the back of his or her mind, would make this world a much more harmonious place.