Last week a student asked me if working all summer doing the same conference would get boring. My response, which I now believe even more is, “No, each week is extremely different because each week the students are so unique compared to the week before.” This has proven to be very true with our second week of WLC already gone and passed.
This week we had students from WI, MD, MO, KS, IA, TX, UT, OH, OR, and CA. The dynamic of this week was very thoughtful, reflective, and eventually goofy! The Freemasons this week started off as a quite, shy, and introverted group, however after the first day everyone began to come out of their shells and REALLY let their light shine.
If I were to pick two words that would describe this week in my eyes they would be:
1) Frustrated, and 2) Belief
Frustrated: this week I was infused with the emotion of frustration, especially the final day. You might be on the edge of your seat right now wondering why Becky, why so frustrated? It’s simple, because student like these are one of a kind. Because it is so wonderful to be surrounded by young adults inspired and enthused about serving the needs of our world, and not just settling for selfish desires to give them temporary happiness. These students KNOW what it really means to be happy...it’s appreciating the act of helping others that gives you true-life satisfaction.
During a coffee talk with a mentor of mine yesterday, she said “Becky, how will you ensure these students leave WLC and transfer what they have learned and their passion for service PAST their summers? How do you make sure that is a focus of their life that is never forgotten?” With this question I began to ponder the power of keeping close relationships with those we meet at WLC. The power of an encouraging word or a extended hand to help if possible. The depth of the relationships we create this summer is one of the largest factors that contributes to whether these students really live a life of service and authenticity.
As I thought about this question presented to me yesterday, it also made me think of my personal life. It is so easy to live what we preach as we are surrounded by like-minded people, however the ability to stay on that path when we return home is so difficult. While thinking about this, I couldn’t help but be frustrated that there have been times when I personally have fallen into the rut of forgetting the “bigger picture.” We all do it, however the challenge for students, parents, teachers, friends, and ourselves is to find a way to ensure we live the lives we want, and not be influenced to society’s selfish habits. We must serve, because we can. Making a difference in the lives of others is what it is all about.
Belief: We must start by believing that making a difference is possible. Student after student this week said “I never thought I had the potential to make a difference, however I now believe that it is possible. I can make a difference.” This couldn’t be more untrue. Often times we are our greatest limitations. We hold ourselves back from doing great things because we have already told ourselves that we are not capable. Each and EVERY student that I have come in contact with this summer has SOO much hidden potential just waiting to be cultivated for the betterment of the world.
One of the sessions we facilitate at WLC is about discovering our strengths, abilities, and passions. It is here that we vocalize and see just how uniquely equipped each of us are to serve the world. God made us all differently for a reason, because there are so many needs to be fulfilled, and not one person can do it all.
One of our Freemasons this week said “I used to want to change all the problems in the world, and I would always get overwhelmed. However this week has taught me that I can make a difference, but I must focus on starting in one area.” She nailed it. The more time we spend on one or two goals, the better job we do.
Week two of WLC flew by, and has left me feeling empowered by the students I have seen. Yes, it can be frustrating that there are not more people in our hometowns that share the same heart of service, however believe that our passion for helping others can and WILL be transferred to those we touch.
This world needs each of us. What can we do? Do what we can.