At my last day at service I realized how appreciative our service there was to the children and the program overall. There have been many problems I have been exposed to and that I have helped with at this school. I have learned that help is always needed in situations like these where there is lack of guidance and structure in these children’s lives. Role models, such as college students, are always needed to help and encourage these scholars in the right direction. Through situations like these I have learned that I have made a difference in someone’s life.
During one lesson I decided to play a game involving figurative language. I would yell out a noun and they would have to describe it using an adjective, adverb, simile, or metaphor. I yelled, “Describe one of your parents using an adjective.” One of the girls looked at me goes, “I don’t got a father,” and the other one said, “I don’t know who my father is.” They continued to describe their mothers using words like, crazy and nuts. As 13-14 year old I would have probably called my mother crazy too. I realized that I have reached the maturity level in which I can appreciate not only what my mother does for me but my father as well. I know that everything they do to me or for me is out of love. But these children didn’t even have a father as a role model to look up to. I cannot imagine not having a father figure in my life. Without one I would have lacked guidance and discipline. I do not know these mothers or any further information about their family structure so I cannot say they are not disciplined or guided correctly without a father. All I know is by having a father raise me I have gained a lot and I feel sorry for those children who never had that chance. This experience makes me look at life in a more thankful manner and appreciate that I have two wonderful role models in my life. It shocked me to see that these children both did not have fathers, let alone not even know them. I was naive to the fact that not everyone was as lucky as me to have two loving parents. It made me value my time and experience more with these children because I got to be their role model. Though I could not even come close to giving them the guidance and love my father has given me, I gave them at least something. Even if it was only for a few hours once a week, I gave them some sort of guidance and education that they may not always get at home.
This experience reminds me of the story we read by Langston Hughes, “Thank You Ma’am.” The old woman disciplines the boy who tries to take her purse. She offers him food and a sense of order. It is evident that he lacks guidance in his life because of his poor actions, but she offers that to him. Even if it is only for a short period of time that he is in her house and in her presence, he learns something. From her assistance he is directed down the right path upon leaving. In a way I represent the old woman and my mentors symbolize the little boy. The boy in the story may not have had parents, just like these girls may not know their fathers. The grandmother takes him under her wing and in a way that is what I try to do with my mentors. Not that they did anything bad or stole from me but I am directing them in the right direction. Being a college student I am what they envision themselves being in the future. I try my best to give them the guidance they are lacking. I can only hope that after my last day I have impacted their lives as much as the old woman did to the boy.
Throughout this semester in Understanding Literature 101 I learned to look beneath the surface because things are not always what they seem. It may sound cliché but through analyzing poems and stories, it has become clear that there is always an underlying meaning. The words written down may look like something upon when they are first read when in fact they mean something totally opposite. This new way of learning can be applied not only to literature but through out my life in all areas.