When I was in high school, I was painfully, embarrassingly shy. During lunch breaks or non-classroom periods, I would be off by myself reading an interesting book or working on a favorite subject pretending not to be concerned about what went on in the various peer groups or clichés. At times, I would want to know why they enjoyed being around each other so much.
Not until my senior year did I notice a pattern: My classmates always greeted each other by their first name, nickname or surname followed by a subject or subjects of interested to both persons. “Dave, what’s your plans after school?” “Barb, what did you think of Sister Rita Clare’s English composition class today?” “Hey, Paul are you going to score thirty points tonight?”
I thought to myself, “I can do that! What’ll do is learn their first name or whatever name they use. Then I’ll try to find out what interest them!” Then I thought, “Gosh, there’s over 200 kids in my class alone and more than 1500 in the entire school. It’ll take me forever! Maybe I’ll just pick out the most popular kids! Or maybe just the one’s in physics. There’s only 14 in that class. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.”
So for the next seven weeks, I worked to learn the names of everyone in physics then figure out what they liked to talk about. I found out that some of the kids in that class wanted help with complex problems that I understood. Within a matter of weeks, I learned that I had something to contribute. I also learned that I had spent three quarters of my high school years in fear of my peers and most teachers. For the most part, I was still a shy, fearful person but I broke the ice. By the time, I was well on my way, I graduated from high school.
While a first semester freshman, I came to learn further that when one pays attention to the needs of others rather than personal needs one life is enriched. Although my peers in high school, I believe, did not seen to recognize a newness in me, my college peers did. They could not believe me when I informed them of my high school past.
Prayer: Help me, Lord, to consider the needs of others as I consider personal needs.