Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



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.



10 Responses

  1. Mary says:

    I agree 100% I teach elementary in a very low socio-economic school. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s those kids that everyone else has given up on that bring me back to the classroom each day. I love getting to know them and their struggles. I learn as much from them about life as they learn about academics from me.

  2. Charlene says:

    I teach kindergarten BSI and I am always drawn to the little guys who come in struggling and just need love and attention. They don’t understand routines and rules because their life has been survival…. There is a reason they are so angry with life at 5. I just show them I love and accept them for who they are…

    • Rita McElheny says:

      You are so right on about rules and routines. Children need structure it makes them feel more secure.

  3. Wendy says:

    I love this Erin and I wholeheartedly agree with Becky. I’m so blessed to have been a beneficiary of your walks with my Children.

  4. Irene says:

    “Never judge a person until you walked a mile in their shoes.” Words to live by my friend, words to live by. Thank you, Erin, for reminding me how to put the saying into practice!

  5. Terri Moore says:

    Great job Erin. I love this! Every part of this is you. You are amazing. :)

  6. Rita McElheny says:

    Should be required reading for any one working with children.

  7. Pam says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you. Thank you for writing this and for the loving work you do.

  8. Cynthia says:

    I was one of those teenagers, lost in real world stuff (divorce,drugs,depression) while other kids could just be kids. Individuals like you Erin are what leave lasting impressions with your understanding and patience that allow those kids to grow up with hope and faith that things will get better! Thank you for all you do!

  9. Garaleen says:

    All are equal in God’s sight. If we could just stop to think about that when we’re tempted to criticize or belittle someone, we might become more lovable ourselves. :-)