Who Has the Power?

I do a lot of ranting on my twitter timeline about how we're failing our kids and how they act up and out and work my nerves.

Just to catch everyone up, I'm in school to earn a degree that will allow me to help kids succeed in school; that is if I'm in a school that believes a strong counseling program in conjunction with a generally supportive school environment, great teachers and support for parents, yields excellent results.

This semester we're at a middle school; I've been excited about this internship. I've had a lot of experience over the years working with teens so my internship last semester was just more experience on top of what I had but this time I'm doing something familiar but still a little different. In my middle school I work primarily with 6th and 8th graders and every day is a new lesson for them and me.

I also really want to add that I find myself telling them stuff that I turn around and tell my undergrads, which is a whole other issue -- why 18+ yr olds need to hear the same thing 12 yr olds need.

So Thursday one of my 6th graders barged in and complained that she told a new friend (the student is, herself, new) a secret about herself. The secret was pretty juicy and the new friend had no qualms about telling her friends the secret and of course those friends came in the next day and told their friends -- the secret was all over the 6th grade by lunch and they had a ball walking up to this student and calling her vulgar names. She was understandably very upset and wanted some answers.

I switched into Counselor Ranger and got everything between the girls squared away and assured the student that while the kids would probably continue to be mean for the rest of the week, by Monday everyone would have forgotten all about her secret and moved on to the next person.

As right as I was, I know that the truth here is less that these people were calling her names and more that she entrusted a piece of herself to someone who misused it. To that point, I harped heavily on the importance of being careful who you share your secrets with. When initially confronted, the friend claimed that she had never been told not to tell, so I asked her to consider when she tells her friends something personal whether or not she assumes they know that it's not to be repeated, she did. So I cautioned them both to be a lot more careful about who they tell stuff to.

As I've thought more about the situation, I've felt like this was absolutely a situation that a lot of adults could learn from. How often are we too free with things that are personal and private, only to be so shocked when we find out someone we trusted told it to others?

In high school I told a guy that I liked him. It wasn't a secret, like "no one can ever know...really, but I thought the conversation was just between us. I found out two years later that almost all of our friends (and some folks I didn't know) knew and had been talking about the incident when I wasn't around. My mind raced as to all the things they might've said about me, maybe laughing at me for thinking I could date this guy or for being so forward; I could only imagine the things said that I would never know about. So what if that had been a much more personal item? My 14 yr old self might've been devastated.

Everyone isn't equipped to hold your stuff. Meaning, everyone doesn't have the skill it takes to become aware of a sensitive piece of you and then keep it to themselves. Some people have to pass off the weight of a heavy secret as quickly as possible and as another counselor said today "knowledge is power, especially in middle school" -- he wasn't referring to academics. When you know something about someone else that no one or not a lot of people know, you have power. So it follows that if you tell someone something about you that not a lot of people know, you give them power. Be careful who your power goes to.

And let me be clear that I'm not saying don't share yourself with people. I'm saying, as I said to my 6th graders, be CAREFUL who you share yourself with. Every piece of you is one more piece of power and not everyone can handle power; it's intoxicating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Often we hear experts on television that report a particular stock
is going to soar and now will be the time to
buy. You can run your home-based business perfectly should you become cordial towards the customers.
" Employees at Nike are encouraged being curious and open to new ideas, whatever their source.

Also visit my homepage ::

Post a Comment

Now open to everyone! Leave a comment -- let me know what you think.