good life – by erin mcrae
Part of cultivating a good life is learning to love the unlovable.
That seems like such a harsh statement. How can someone be unlovable?
I am a high school teacher, soccer coach, and a youth Sunday school teacher. In my various arenas, I am fortunate to associate with some of the most remarkable youth on the planet! That being said, for every outstanding teenager who crosses my path, there is an equally challenging teenager who meanders into my life. The kids who find themselves kicked off the team, kicked out of class, kicked out of school, and even kicked out of their own home are the kids who always find their way into my heart. How?
We take a walk. Sometimes it’s a walk down the hall, sometimes it’s a walk down the sidelines, and sometimes it’s a walk in their neighborhood. While on the walk, I try to slip into their shoes and see how the world looks from their perspective. During these walks, I have learned to not let the struggles define the teenager… drugs, bullying, sex, disabilities, divorce, depression, obesity, gender confusion, and a pervasive feeling of fear. But rather, I have learned to love these kids for the shoes in which they tread through life each day.
By investing a few minutes in a walk, I am awestruck in hearing their sense of humor, feeling the love that they have for their family, seeing their talents, and learning about their goals for their future. The unlovable teenagers are forthright, empathetic, funny, generous, humble, and kind. These attributes exemplify a hope for a better day. I thoroughly enjoy working with our youth and consider myself blessed to walk with some of the most exceptional teenagers at a time in their lives when most view them as unlovable. Cultivating a good life IS loving the unlovable.
Note from Becky
Oh Erin McRae. Only a handful of people reading this will know her (my personal friends or those in my hometown, mostly) but she. is. amazing. She is the real deal. She is the one I would want teaching / coaching / mentoring my own children. How blessed I am for her friendship and example and influence in my life for the past 15 years. How blessed our community is for her service and willingness to share so much of herself for the benefit of others. Erin is as direct and straight-forward and honest as they come. There’s no sugar-coating anything. And at the same time, she is absolutely the life of the party. I love soaking up any time I can get to spend time with her. And I hope that you are able to really soak up what she has shared today, as most of us are surrounded by those who need more understanding and compassion and love.