Who Do You Need?

Sometimes, it feels like weeks take on a feeling, a theme.  Last week, it was all about political action.  This week, there has been a 360 degree turn, which has led me to think about friendship, support and    the importance of common experiences.  (I hope that you all let me express my thinking for a bit.  I need it.  I promise, though, that I will get to a Duran connection eventually.)

Some weeks at work focus on curriculum development or assessment.  Unfortunately, my week didn’t have anything to do with that.  No, it was about kids who are hurting, emotionally, and for good reasons.  I have had students come to me with suicidal thoughts, mental illness, concerns about sexual assault, and discrimination.  Yeah, clearly, their problems are not surface ones.  These kids came to me for comfort, for hugs, for advice or for a place to vent, to talk, to express their conflicted emotions.  With each one, I offered hugs, my ear and any advice that I could.  As each one walked away, I felt frustration that I couldn’t do more and sadness that they have to deal with these incredibly tough issues.

As I now sit in my living room, I am left thinking about support.  Did I support my students enough?  Did it matter that many of their problems are not ones that I have experienced first hand myself?  I wondered if their families could or did offer better support.  Did their friends?  Should I do more?  If so, what?  Even as I type this, I ache for them.  They are so young and have so much on their plates.  I admire their strength and their ability to pick themselves up to move forward.

As I ponder these students I am so fond of, I think my own friendships.  Do I offer my friends enough support especially when they are struggling?  If not, how can I?  Then, I think about myself.  Things haven’t been awesome for me, either.  Am I as strong as my students?  Do I seek the support that I need like they do and did?  I have to say that I probably don’t as I think I have gotten pretty good at hiding my own pain and putting on a good front.  I let pride rule and I don’t often ask for what I need.  Again, though, I think about my kids.  They didn’t let their pride get in their way.

Is it more than just pride for me?  Is it because I assume that no one would understand because they haven’t experienced what I have?  Maybe.  Does having first hand understanding of something matter? I think of Rhonda.  We have had many conversations over the years about how we are the only two people in the world that understands what it is like to be half of the Daily Duranie.  I think about those blogs in which people have unleashed it on us, telling us not only that we are wrong but that we are “desperate” or “pathetic” or something similar.  If there is a negative comment that gets to me, there is no one better to turn to than Rhonda because she has been there, too.  Our unique experience as the Daily Duranie does bring us closer and causes us to lean on each other at times.  I wonder if that is the same thing with members of Duran.  Have they turned to each other at times solely because they are the only ones who understand what it is like to be a member of the band?  Maybe.

Are their some experiences that are so unique that others couldn’t get it and couldn’t give the amount and kind of support that is needed?  I don’t know.  This is where I fail for myself.  I often don’t share problems I have with people who I suspect wouldn’t get it.  Now, I have to wonder if I am not giving enough credit to other people.  So, this week has reminded me that people can and should ask for help or support when they need it.

-A

6 thoughts on “Who Do You Need?”

  1. Happy Birthday Amanda!!
    Speaking of the blog, I knew inside the band when they were in trouble Roger helped Andy and vice versa. John was helped by Simon during the 90’s
    It is slightly different in a large Fan Community as ours: I had to find help in my area and luckily I found it, after working hard to gain respect.

  2. So, I totally missed this when you wrote it on Friday. It was a day from hell here, so…

    I’m sorry about your students. I recognize much of their pain you take on, and how difficult it is to stop thinking about it all when you get home. I don’t have answers for you, but I do have a fair understanding of what you write here.

    As I have written to you lately, I am also not very good at asking for help or support. I suspect that everyone responds to stress, depression, and significant life events in different ways. I don’t have an answer as to why I tend to curl up in a ball and not speak, only that I’m aware that I do it.

    I do think that in the case of the band, they must be able to turn to one another when times are tough. I mean, there are four of them who have been in this from nearly day one – and I can’t imagine anyone else really knows the ins and outs better than they do, so it makes sense. And as you and I have discovered – it’s not like venting online is a good thing. 😀 -R

    1. You know what is funny? Not in a funny, ha ha, sort of way but interesting sort of way? I keep thinking about my students and how I learn from them probably just as much as they learn from me. Maybe they know how best to get support and could be something that I need to try myself. That said, I wonder how much we react to others based on our usual reactions. For example, did I respond to them with what *I* would do in their shoes? Should I have? Or do I need to step out of my own comfort zone or fight my own instincts in order to best help them? If so, how? Again, the whole week left me with more questions than answers. -A

      1. I deal mostly with K-4th grade. Problems are a little more simpler for the most part. I don’t know what I would do with high schoolers. Probably hold my head in my hands and rock. 😀 I’m sure that whatever you did during that time, Amanda – you did the best thing, and that was to listen. So many other adults probably wouldn’t. -R

  3. I have just read this and even though belated I wanted to give some support. Please do not give the posters of hurtful, negative comments a second thought. They are living rent free in your brain if you do. That may be their true opinion, but who cares? The blog is sincere, heartfelt, and with your levels of education and study, frequently fascinating. An opinion or disagreement is not the problem it is how it is presented. If tey just want to tear you down or hurt you, ignore them.

We (Amanda and Rhonda) appreciate discussion and differences of opinion. We respectfully ask that you fully read the blog before bitching us out. If you're only here to take us down a notch, note that we moderate replies (meaning we're not printing rude comments). Thanks a bunch!

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