Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Healthy Me Check-in and Encouragement

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble
the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of
praise or encouragement -- and we will make the goal.
~ Jerome P. Fleishman

It's been another good week for me, as far as healthy eating goes. I've written down everything I've eaten (included that fabulous hot dog and popcorn at Saturday night's movie!) I've stayed within my Points, with a few to spare. But I have to admit that it was tougher this week. I wasn’t quite as calm about it all as I was the first two weeks. Nerves? Hormones? Who knows! I was tempted more often, but I stuck it out. Weigh in is tonight... we'll see.

* * * * *

Last night was my first tutoring event. Talk about an emotional eating experience! I was far too nervous to eat anything before I went, but after... boy, the pull to stop on my way home for some kind of fast-food comfort fix was incredibly strong! I just kept telling myself, "Go home and eat something good there." I made it - but again, the temptation to calm myself with food was really strong (which as we all know, brings about five actual minutes of comfort, then you're back to square one!)

It was an interesting experience, going into this minimum security facility to tutor. The room where we meet is in the men's section and luckily, one of my fellow tutors was there to escort me to the room we're allowed to use. She and I chatted while we set up, then I waited for Mark. Turns out he's a young man of 20, with deep piercing eyes and arms covered with tattoos. I started out by asking him to tell me a little about himself and his goals. One of the things he mentioned a few times is that he loves to draw. And he's really motivated to earn his GED. That's his primary goal at this point, and he's been studying hard on his own to make that happen. He'll be released in December and is ready to pull his life together.

I have to admit to being at a bit of a loss of what to do to help him, however. I had him do some cold reading of material I thought for sure he'd stumble on. He didn’t falter one bit. Even the words I'd thought might catch him up were not a problem. I had him answer the questions following the reading, to check on his comprehension. No problem there: he got every one right. Then I gave him pencil and paper and asked him to write down his goals for me. He wrote a full paragraph, correctly spelled and punctuated. I found myself thinking, "Now what??" I went in expecting to teach this young man phonetics and site words and find that he's a very capable young man. I'm so pleased for him, but I've got a call in to the folks who supervise the literacy program to ask where I go next.

Part of my goal last night was to encourage him as much as possible, and I found that very easy to do since he is so capable. At the end of our time together, we shook hands and he left the room. As I was gathering my things, feeling a bit confused on where to go next with him, I heard the door open. I looked up and it was Mark. He said, "I wanted to show you some of the drawings I did." He brought in two pencil sketches he'd done of eagles, their talons clasping wood in one picture, and fish in another. The drawings were incredibly well done - this guy is really good! I encouraged him to think about pursuing graphic design training after he gets his GED.

Can I tell you how good that felt to me, that he went back to his cell and got these drawings to show me? I left there beaming! It truly reinforced my belief that what most of us need in life is a little encouragement, someone to say, "You bet you can do it!"

One last thing... and don’t you dare laugh! When I'm nervous, I tend to perspire from my head. Well, I was very nervous last night. For some reason, this triggered a hot flash. The whole time I was with my learner, trying to be helpful and encouraging, I'm mopping my face and fanning myself for dear life! He must have thought I was melting - and I was!

So much for first impressions, eh? :-)

Until next time...


jovaliquilts said...

Pattie, that's wonderful!! I'm sure the first time is the hardest. Now you know each other, and I'm sure the literacy people will suggest next steps. You might ask him what he has the hardest time with, too -- could be a useful response to have.

Cookie Sunshine said...

Pattie, Congratulations! I'm so happy for you and for Mark! What a great beginning. You obviously connected with him or he wouldn't have wanted to share his art with you. Kudos to you! I love that you took the step and planted the seed about graphic design. We all need someone to believe in us and we all need someone to help us move forward. I doubt very seriously that he noticed you were having your own personal summer. We think people notice things like that, but he was probably experiencing something similar that you didn't notice!
Hugs and encouragement coming your way!

Kathy said...

You are so right about the need for encouragement and someone who will listen...just listen. I grew up a poor little farm kid and never dreamed of ever going to college, but a few good teachers led me through the process of getting scholarships and believed that I would get there even when I thought the idea was laughable. I was so grateful to them when I was standing there with my diploma. You are doing a great thing!

Katschi said...

Hi Pattie!
I'm glad it went well for you last night. I would've been nervous, as well, and yes, sweating from my head :0) I am a fellow schvitzer.
The experience sounds like it was very positive for the both of you.
I'm sure he saw in you a very caring, sincere person in whom he could confide his talents.
Now, next time you'll be able to eat before you go :0)

Deborah said...

What a wonderful experience. I'm so proud of you.

I have a couple of suggestions.

1. Take a snack with you that you can munch on while driving home. Something that you really like and is good for you and you won't be tempted as much. I'd chose a half a peanut butter sandwich if it were me. But I love peanut butter.

2. Don't know where your guidance will go when you contact the literacy people but you could try to have him draw cartoons and incorperate conversations into the stories. That might motivate him that way. Then use the drawing motivator in another way with having him draw buildings and cities to scale (like on graph paper where one square equals a foot) and point out angles and geometric shapes. Challanging him to use as many shapes as possible in them. That way it gets a little math in too.

And believe me I know how you felt when he came back to share his drawings with you. Encourage him to bring one with him each session to show you. Great idea on the graphic design suggestion.

Manuela said...

That's funny because my mother also sweats from her head.

Wow, you must be some teacher when you already have such a good pupil :) I can't wait to hear more about it.

I'm also so proud that you didn't cave in to any evil temptations. I always remember this Bible verse from Sunday School when you feel tempted, "Get thee behind me Satan"! Don't let those nasty calories sucker you in!

You are woman so roar! (I'm such a sucker for those oldies)

Cammy said...

So glad the tutoring went so well! I'm sure it's very rewarding. But maybe one of those little handheld fans will make it more enjoyable. :)

Congrats on a sucessful and rewarding week!

Nonna said...

Thanks for stopping by again! I'm on my lunch hour, but tonight I am hoping to read more of your posts!May I add you to my blogroll?

Becky said...

I think your are a natural "encourager" - and I'm sure he was just as nervous about the first meeting as you were. Sounds like you hit it off! The love of drawing is great - maybe you can find some learn-to-draw basics that he can reference online or books he could get. That might encourage more reading, too. Good luck at your weigh in tonight! Great job this week! I'm impressed that you resisted the urge to be "bad".

PEA said...

I think it's quite normal to still want all the comfort foods when you're emotional...that's something we've done for so many years, our bodies have to adjust to NOT wanting them!! You go girl...your willpower won and you went home without stopping for fast food:-) How perfect that your first student would be Mark...he obviously trusts you, otherwise he wouldn't have wanted to show you his sketches!! I think you'll do a fine job with him and any others who will cross your path:-) xoxo

Mama Bear June said...

What an incredible experience. And congrats on conquering temptation on the way home. I agree with the suggestion to put healthy snacks in the car to eat on the way home!
Path to Health

Twix said...

Lol, hot flashes suck!

I would have been super nervous and confused too. Like you, what are you supposed to do exactly with this guy since he seems to have his act together. He has to have some sort of weekness that he needs help with. Hmmm, congrats and good luck! :)

Scale Junkie said...

I'm sure the first time is the hardest. It sounds like they gave you someone easier for the first time so you wouldn't run screaming from the building? I love that he wanted to share his drawings with you too, it shows he trusts you and that probably isn't easy for him. You've accomplished more than you think.

If only hot flashes melted fat....

new*me said...

You are such an inspiration and I am touched by your heart. You are making a difference. Eat next time ;)

RunningNan said...

How awesome! Way to go!

If it makes you feel any better... I sweat profusely from my head as well. When I'm done running, it looks as if I just jumped in the pool!

Susie said...

Hi Pattie,
So glad to hear it all went well. I know you were a great source of encouragement to Mark :)
I think the graphic design suggestion will give him a wonderful goal to work towards when he is released!
That cartoon at the end is so cute. Many of us can certainly relate to that one!

Irish Mom said...

I used to tease my co-workers when they got hot flashes (while I helped to fan them & get cold water) until after I had Red and had hot flashes for like 2-3 months after. OMG, the WORST feeling EVER!! Well, now I totally sympathize with them!!

MizFit said...

so proud of you for making it through the FF Urge.
the call of the drive through is a FREAKIN LOUD ONE.

what triggered it specifically? (rhetorical in a way. no pressure to share)
the relief?
the overwhelmingness of the situaion/experience? ( I so felt that when I tutored. prepared to help and yet felt wholly inadequate at times...)


Lora said...

Wow Patti! He went back to get his pictures for you. He must trust you very much. Perhaps you've filled aniche in his life he never had (someone who believes in him!)

And abou those hot flashes - I recently read that a nervous situation can trigger one. They are the worst aren't they?

jillytacy said...

Yeah for you, it sounds like a good experience! I'm a bit confused that he's in a tutoring program since he seems to be able to read and write. Are his skills just at a very low level and he wants to get to a higher level or is there some benefit to him for participating in the program? Either way it's great that you made a connection with him, the fact that he brought his drawings to you shows that. So Congratulations on a successful tutoring experience. And who knows maybe the hot flash and brow mopping set him at ease knowing you were nervous too and let him take a chance and open up!