My life is full of compliments. I get them all the time. I’m told how good looking I am, or how smart or witty I can be, or how much I care about things that seem so trivial to other people.
It would just be nice to hear it in someone else’s voice other then mine.
Most of the comments I get from other people tend to be stated along the lines of “You’re weird”, or “Do you have to be such a child?” or “Could you please grow up and take things seriously?”
Even though those words are meant as a slight toward me, the people who use them have no idea about who I am or what I have gone through to get to the me that is currently writing this blog. Because, if they did, they would understand that their words are compliments of how successful I have been in accomplishing my goal of just being me.
However, I think the greatest backhanded compliment I ever got was from one of my students at a youth lock-in at our church. It was a New Year’s Eve event a few years back that started at 7pm. I had planned to have the student’s outside for as long as possible, because around 11:30pm, we would end up having to move inside to be nice to the neighborhood that surrounds the church.
Now, before I go on, it must be known that everyone of the kids that was there that night was made very well aware of the one simple rule I have when it comes to lock-ins. That rule is “I don’t sleep, you don’t sleep” and it comes with the knowledge that I have military training in making sure that your awakening will be as rude as I possibly can make it. That includes banging garbage can lids above your head, shaving cream face pies, or yanking you from your slumber across the floor. (yeah, I know, I know… )
So, anyway, I had planned this outdoor activity which included dodge ball, kick ball, freeze tag, and a game we have dubbed ‘Noodle Tag’*. At about 10:30, while one of the chaperon’s was standing next to me, a student said that they were tired and wanted to know if they could go upstairs to rest. I firmly stated that we would be outside until about 11:30 or so, and then we would be inside the rest of the night, so they might as well enjoy the ‘fresh air’ as much as possible. The student walked away and went back to playing the game.
The chaperon looked at me after hearing what I said and knowing my rule and smiled. I asked them what they were smiling about and they simply responded, “You are tiring them out, aren’t you?”
I just smiled.
That’s when they looked out at all those kids, burning all their energy and it sunk in that at about 3am in the morning, a vast majority of them were going to be fighting exhaustion and the desire to sleep.
“You’re evil.” was the only comment they made to me.
My smile widened.
Needless to say, there were many kids woken up in a very rude manner through out the night.
It was glorious.
*Noodle Tag.. Take a pool noodle, cut it in half. One student is ‘it’ and has a pool noodle in each hand. They run around and try to tag anyone they can. If they tag someone, they have to join hands with them and give a pool noodle to them. Then the two of them work to add more to the chain, with the pool noodles moving out to the last free hand in the chain. When you have about 30 kids playing, you can imagine the snake like chaos as the chain grows and those students in the middle get pulled in a lot of different directions. It is quite fun.