As Kids Club volunteer Ms. Nancy sat down to talk with Eddy, his head was turned away and his arms were crossed. Eddy hadn’t been listening when Kids Club was doing the daily honor code review and each time Ms. Nancy had asked him to focus, he would ignore her and continue to talk with his friends. As other students began homework time, Ms. Nancy began to talk with Eddy about his choices – but he struggled to engage and said he just didn’t care.
Ms. Marissa and Eddy went out to the hallway. Kneeling down to be on his eye level, Ms. Marissa asked, “Hey Eddy, what’s the expectation we have of every body during honor code time?”
“Well, that everyone is quiet and listening,” he replied.
“Were you following that expectation?” she asked.
“No…I wasn’t focused,” Eddy said.
“When Ms. Nancy talked to you about what happened, why did tell her you didn’t care?” Marissa asked.
Eddy looked at her silently and shrugged. Seeing a teaching moment, Marissa reviewed with Eddy the 3 parts of being vulnerable they’d been talking about at Kids Club: owning mistakes and taking responsibilities for actions, being honest about how we feel, and communicating directly and with kindness.
“Eddy, is there a way that practicing vulnerability feels hard right now?” Marissa asked. He nodded in response, “If I admit my mistakes, I get a punishment. I don’t know how people are going to react.”
Marissa said to Eddy, “Yes, when we admit our mistakes we do have to take responsibility for our actions – there may be a consequence that isn’t fun. But at Kids Club we don’t want to punish you – we want to help you learn and grow. We want you to trust that you are loved and accepted no matter what.”
As she looked at Eddy, she began to see a softening in his heart and that he was truly hearing what was being spoken. She looked at him and asked, “Eddy, you know Ms. Nancy well. If you admit your mistake and apologize to her, do you think she’ll reject you and hold a grudge or is she someone who will forgive and welcome you back in?”
Immediately he responded, “She will forgive… she’s kind.”
Taking a deep breath, he walked into the classroom and practiced vulnerability and courage by admitting his mistake, having a hard conversation, and seeking to reconnect with a volunteer he really cares about. He and Ms. Nancy shared a hug as she reminded him, “Eddy, I care about you because I see how much potential you have. I just want you to be the best you can be.” Eddy smiled and nodded his head, and went to begin his work.
This month, Eddy was courageous and practiced vulnerability even when it was hard. It was a big victory for him and it helped build the culture of vulnerability we are seeking at Kids Club. At Kids Club, students, staff and volunteers are learning together that with the foundation of a good relationship, a culture of honor is possible.