The title of this post is a question I was asked by a community member who was sitting next to me and my partner at a community cultural event. While sitting on the bench, watching the dancing, and listening to the drumming, I didn’t answer because I couldn’t think of an answer at the time. I had other things on my mind, like the activities planned for the remainder of the event, and other things going on in my life from prepping for the LSATs, transcribing for a kick ass project, and a slew of other things going on in my life which reminds me…I have to add them to my to-do lists 😉
Thinking back to that day the question was proposed and all that has happened this summer, my answer would probably be the following…
I would probably leave the youth that we met in our adventures the memories of our summer spent together which includes the time we took to have silly/crazy fun to some serious conversations, and letting them know that there is always someone that cares about them even if they are not there physically 24/7.
Sometimes youth feel as if people don’t listen to them, or that people only pay attention when there is something bad going on in their lives. It’s not true!
To all the youth out there, there is someone that cares about you!
It really touched me when a youth shared with me that she began running early in the mornings after she moved to the nearest townsite and would continue to this even after school started. It moved me because one of the things I would have loved to start was a running club but for reasons outside the community’s control, this was not always feasible (like big, wild animals, or an abundance of Rez dogs). I ended up running (mostly on my own) early in the mornings and except for the fact that many community members thought I was crazy running every now and then (even offering me rides to where I was going), some of the youth shared that they did see me running often (since I sometimes ran in the early afternoon/evenings). I invited some of the youth to join me even if they just wanted to walk. It never transpired but that’s okay, I love running so much I continued to run on my own.
A side from this, I am happy to report that I did not meet any Rez dogs or bears (both of which I was warned about). *Phew*
Immediately following her sharing this lifestyle change (because taking up running is a lifestyle change) and her initiative to make positive change in her life, I congratulated her on the feat and had a conversation on some of the other benefits of running, aside from becoming physically fit, like emotional/mental wellness. For me, personally, running has helped me overcome drugs/alcohol/excessive partying, and an increased ability to handle difficult situations. It was inspiring to share this story on our last day with our community contacts and having a member of the audience also moved by the story. Because she was also a runner, she was touched by the story.
And for my readers, even if running isn’t your thing, walking has tons of similar benefits too!