This has been a week of small moments of great reward. Here are two of them.
One of the jobs I do at court is help facilitate a class for juveniles called "Victims Awareness." The class is a five week long program to help young offenders learn skills in making better choices, accepting responsibility for their actions, and developing empathy for others.
Earlier this week was the fifth and final class of the current group of youth. I made brownies and brought a plate of them to the class. One of our students, a young man who has had a rougher way to go than many, lit up.
"Brownies? For us?"
It was a very small class. Everyone, including the adults, took a brownie or two. The plate ended back up by the young man.
"May I have another?"
A few minutes later:
"May I have another?"
By the end of the class, checking with everyone else to make sure no one else wanted any, he had emptied the plate. He grinned and said, "Those were great!" before bolting out the door.
It was just a plate of brownies, and made from a box to boot. But judging by his reaction, you'd have thought that plate had held the world.
The second small moment was the kind of moment you have in small, tightly knit, downtown communities. Margo and I were sitting in a coffee shop, talking fast in the very limited time we had, when the young woman who works there came up to us.
"Does this belong to one of you?"
She held up a caramel colored knit scarf, fringed, with a decorative button.
I lit up.
"My scarf! Thank you!"
The scarf was a present from Warren two Christmases ago. A few weeks ago, on a bitterly cold day, I had worn it to my office, then wore it when I left the building for a mediation at a middle school. It wasn't until later that night that I realized I no longer had the scarf. I could remember wearing it to the school, but not after that.
The next day, after checking my office, I emailed the principal with whom I had met, asking her if I had left behind a scarf.
No, she responded. She said she'd keep an eye out for it in the lost and found.
Great. The lost and found piles at middle schools are massive monuments to the inability of young pubescent minds to keep track of their personal belongings. And knowing I would be back at that particular school in a few weeks, I resigned myself to pawing through mountains of abandoned and neglected items.
Instead, here was Gina, holding out my scarf, remembering us from that same day, and asking us if it belonged to one of us. "When I saw you two there, I remembered seeing this scarf with you."
She could have handed me the world and I would not have been more pleased. When I left, I stopped at the counter.
"You have no idea how happy you made me," I said. "You just made my day!"
Gina beamed. I beamed. My scarf was back and all was right.
I felt just like our juvenile earlier with the brownies.
Thank you! Thank you!