This week I did not have service, but my service experiences can relate to the theme of the readings this week. Each piece whether this be a poem or a short story all deal with making a decision. Each piece deals with someone taking control or making a decision. While I’m at the Gilford School working with the kids, it can be hard to take control at times. Young boys have a low tolerance and usually are very hyper. When it is time to sit down and do homework I feel challenged to tell the kids to sit down and do their work. I don’t want to over step my boundaries and I only want to help them. Even at the end of service when we are eating dinner the boys are so hungry you have to be an adult and tell them to wait in line and everyone will get a fair share of the meal. At playtime outside I have also had to learn how to take control. For example one day we had to set out chairs in the gym where the boys usually play because there was going to be an assembly and the chairs were needed. Many of the boys were using the chairs as weapons and hitting each other with them while the volunteers did the work. I really do think that when I speak to the boys they listen to me. I said to one of the boys who I am close with, “Please help, and were almost done”. He did not even ask questions and noticed that what he was doing was wrong. I have to make decisions during service and take control of many situations.
In the poem, “Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague many ideas are listed of how to do poorly on the SAT’s but in reality the poem is expressing how one should make their own decisions and mark on the world. The poem begins by listing ways not to do well on the SAT. For example, “Do not observe the rules of gravity, commas, history”. In the end the poem says, “Listen to no one”. Here the speaker changes the mood of the poem. As he is listing so many subjects about the SAT’s he is now telling the reader to not listen to those things, to make you own decision. The speaker says one line after the first stanza, “Make your marks on everything”. The speaker is telling the reader to take control of their life and make their mark on the world.
Next in the poem, “First Practice” by Gary Gildner an intense coach is giving his words of advice to a team where he lets them chose to take control of the game. In this poem the coach seems to be very strict and into the game. He gives demands such as, “I take that to mean you are hungry men who hate to lose as much as I do”. The coach is determined not to lose and wants to get his players in the mindset to win the game. At this time this is the players first practice and it is the players decision whether or not to listen to their coach and win the game. It is in the player’s hands to make or break their moment to shine.
“Serving Hope” by Stephanie Shapiro tells the story of the Simpson’s who have made a program to help individuals who have had drug problems or were convicts. Gale Simpson is a chef who started a free culinary program by getting a grant from the Baltimore Community Fellowship program. He wanted to switch roles and help others. The program was for people to start a better life for themselves, a fresh start. His wife Bridget brought a good personality to his business. In 2013 she started her “own society fellowship to bring a literacy program to incarcerated mothers and their children”. Brock and Lewis who are the main two individuals talked about in the story were found from a local recovery program. The two now worked at Simpson’s restaurant. It touches my heart to read their story. The Simpson’s have taken control or their lives and dedicated themselves to helping others.
In the story, “A Father” by Bharati Mukherjee a culture clash between a father and his daughter causes a life threatening fight. Mr. Bhowmick had to get up very early every morning to pray before he went to work. His wife would get angry with him because he would always take so long to get ready. He would pray to Kali-Mata his god who he made and carved out of wood. He and his daughter are not close and their cultures clash. Mr. Bhowmick was realizing that his daughter had been throwing up multiple times a day and was not herself. He thought she was pregnant and didn’t say anything. In the end his daughter is talking to her mom about her pregnancy and Mr. Bhowmick joins in. She explains how the father is a donor and made twenty-five dollars from his donation for her to have her baby. The story ends by her father smacking her stomach with a rolling pin. Here their cultures clash and this causes her father to take control in a negative way. He was following his culture but living in a western world, which caused tension and misunderstandings between him and his family.
All the readings dealt with individuals taking control of their lives or situations they are faced with. Whether this is the SAT test or your daughter being pregnant everyone has a way of dealing with certain situations. Service also led me to make decisions and a path for myself as a leader.