1/16/2013 2:28:00 PM Noticing made all the difference
St. Ignatius School photo
St. Ignatius students prepare for a day of service at Blanchet House.
During a St. Ignatius School trip to Providence Child Center for Medically Fragile Children, I noticed that there was one resident by himself. He was watching us interact with another kid that responded more quickly and clearly than he did. I went over to him, and since he had crayons and a coloring book on his little tray, I asked him if he wanted to color. After a few moments, he nodded and so I chose a picture of a dinosaur for us. At that time, I didn’t know, but he did not want the dinosaur at all. He started pushing the picture away, but I kept thinking he couldn’t help himself.
Then he started making loud sounds. Still, I thought this was involuntary, but I soon realized that he wasn’t coloring and that he wanted a different picture.
After our time ended with the children and teenagers, I kept thinking of how hard it would be for him to keep trying to tell me something, with me not knowing what he wanted at all. I thought about how some medically fragile children go through this quite often and how unfortunate it might be. I didn’t stop thinking there, though. At home, I kept myself up thinking of how I could help the littlest bit. I decided that next time we went to Providence, I would be more aware of the signs the children gave me. I planned it, and then put it to action.
Not surprisingly, the children I interacted with seemed happier and more interactive with us. Noticing the small hints and details made deciding what to do, what they wanted, and how to do it so much smoother. It not only helped me and my classmates, it also seemed to help the children. All around us, their faces were lit up with smiles, and they looked as if they were enjoying themselves more. I felt proud that I had made this small adjustment, gotten a big result, and realized that this was the whole reason why we were coming to Providence and the effects community service could have on lives.
This experience helped me realize the importance of service to the community. I now know that I will be able to use this experience in the present and in the future for the benefit of all types of people. The person doing the service, the people the service is being provided to, and anyone witnessing the event could all benefit by what is happening. I am thankful for what I was able to notice about noticing, for the happiness that was brought to some of the children’s faces, and the lesson I was able to gain from all of this. My life has truly been made better because of community service and all the opportunities that I get to participate in.
The writer is an eighth grader at St. Ignatius School.