Story time: (** praying in the middle of the night after a tiny person wakes me up to use the restroom and I start reflecting on yesterday... as I begin a FB post, my hubby says that should be a blog... so here goes!)
I'm realizing the importance of communication, caring and being a village. I'm doing a Latausha Cox designed mural downtown and have been getting to know people around and in the building as they pass by.
Two little guys run up as I'm grabbing my big ladder for the day by myself. They tell me of how they were at the park got startled by noises and ran back to the building. I told them they did the right thing and I'm glad they were safe! They asked my name and I told them, we chatted a little and then they run off as I begin setting up. I start painting and minding my business.
So they begin playing and I start hearing them talking about fighting. The mama in me said hey y'all be careful you don't want to start fighting or looking for a fight. I did tell them I'd hate to see them get into a fight especially a planned one. We chat a little at it's all good, but one is still convinced that violence is the way, stay tuned...
Now they begin tossing the ball, and I said "hey remember my one request, 'be careful near the ladder with the ball.'" They agree and keep playing. I'm still at the top painting and today my team isn't with me, two of my Woodford students walk up, mind you, I just hung out with them because their bus was late getting to school to get them. So I was with them minutes ago at school, but they act like I'm just seeing them for the first time. They begin chatting and I remind them to back away when one of the little guys from earlier realizes he has an audience and says I'm going to make you fall off the ladder. (**In my mind I say "pause: little boy WHET?!! Holy Spirit activate" cuz this baby done lost his mind... an anthem of "Knuck if You Buck" begins playing along with a drum beat, I breathe in and ... relax) I watch this little guy walk over to my ladder and hold one of the legs with his tiny hand. I calmly say, "Step back. You wouldn't do that, because you make good decisions, I saw you do it earlier when you left the park. Now one thing I can tell you is, you may not know me but they do and you don't want that to happen." He gives it a little jiggle with a little glimmer in his eye and my kids from school aren't about to let it happen. I remind him one more time that I don't scare easily, lean over look him in his little eyes from the top and remind him "you make good decisions and you don't want paint all over you. Ask about me." I'm pretty sure kids and dogs smell fear or at least detect who they can try.
He realized from the look on my face (a slight smile and a raised brow) and the fact that my students were like "nah bruh she's about that life...," that he didn't want those problems, and runs off saying he's going to get his... (I can't decipher if he said gun or dad but either way... I said a little prayer and said to myself get ya "Daddy I already talked to mine.") He comes back with nothing and just then a couple of the ladies I've been seeing walk by complimenting the wall. One says, "I couldn't see the faces before, but now I see where everything is going.... it looks soooo good!" I said "thank you so much! Having that background painted helps, but can you believe one of my friends here wanted to knock me off the ladder?!" The little boy said "she tried to tell me what to do," and she says, "best believe she won't steer you wrong and wants what's best for you, trust that!" She pulls my little friend to the side and talks to him. She saw my heart just from our few interactions. Believe me when I say, I wasn't worried, but y'all, the connections you make are important.
A couple weeks ago, I had a grown man try to say, "I'ma laugh when you fall of that ladder," because he thought we were acting funny when he tried to holler as my apprentice and I walked by. After a kind, (you -don't-want -these -problems,-hurt-people-hurt-people, I-don't -wanna-have-to -look -over -my-shoulder- convo) I realized, people say things from a lot of different places and a conversation can build or tear down. He was just salty. I didn't even hear him, but I made sure we wouldn't have any more issues. His friend was apologetic and noted we wouldn't have any issues. I saw a hurt little boy in a grown man body dealing with rejection and lashing out. I will try to build, I'll keep looking for the good and if there's a problem let's try to solve it. Not every issue will I address but I'm not about to walk around with a doubt in my mind about my safety or my team's safety. This instance prepared me for today's ladder grab.
I had a good day overall! I was given a cup that made my day from a teacher friend, had an amazing donation to our treasure chest from another friend, 5th grade came in struggling with each other and left out calm and 6th grade started a clay project with a brand new student in the room and was successful! At the end of the week, I will sing "I survived it!" in a churchy soprano voice, but I think after this week's Monday, I may sing it earlier! If you read all of this kudos to you! You should sing it too! Whatever ladder you may be on that could be shaken or even threatened, just remember to shine your light, ignore the fright, and by all means hold on tight!