I'm awestruck by the feelings I get when I read Paper Planes. The stories they tell really bring out emotion and theres such a strong connection within these stories. Then I realize I haven't really done that at BiA too often. Probably due to a misconception that a manly isn't supposed to be emotional. Well I used to think that way, but now I have seen the light. Exhibit A: A juiced-up man on 'roid rage is full of testosterone, and he must obviously be feeling something as he smashes everything he sees into oblivion. If he has the right to have feelings, so do I.
The only thing on my mind tonight is the hope for Thieu Nhi this year. The San Clemente camp was a great way to wrap up the summer. I've gotten to know many people better this summer for sure. Some people think of me as an easy-going goofy guy who throws himself and his dignity out there for entertainment, but I really much more enjoy getting to know people through intimate conversations rather than through an exchange of jokes. I bring that up because I've had a paradigm shift as a Huynh Truong in recent years. I used to think that to get people to come to Thieu Nhi, you had to go have fun activities and get everyone to hang out and have a good time. Although those things are essential, within the last year I've realized that you hook them for life if you can gain their trust in you.
I think you get through to them not by teaching ideals or by playing fun activities but by putting yourself out there and gaining their trust. You can do that by getting to know people pass the surface, not being judgmental, by being patient with people's shortcomings, by believing in their potential to be great, and by expecting nothing in return. Sometimes they do give you nothing in return, but thats okay. Overall you get a whole community of great people who are supportive of one another. Of course I'm talking about the Nghia Si/Hiep Si, because it has always been my belief that the teenagers are the lifeblood of Thieu Nhi. It made me a little bit discouraged when I switched from Nganh Truong of NS to Thieu, but now it excites me, because I get kids a little bit before the teen years. Because its harder to talk to teenagers when they've already decided Thieu Nhi is lame and a waste of time. Sort of like playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare on very hard difficuly. It's frustrating when you keep getting shot down when you turn the same corner over and over again. Or you're approaching from a safe distance and all of a sudden you're sniped and you don't know what happened. But miraculous conversions do happen sometimes, eh Andy (not TN wise, I'm referring how you went from fat to fit)
I've also thought about what should be a HT's true source of inspiration? At training camp they tell you that you need to have a true love for God in order to teach the kids in the best manner. I think that's totally true, but can't it also be okay for the reverse? How about having a true love for the kids which encourages me to get to know God better, so that I can teach the kids about God? In both cases, you end at the same distination: a stronger individual faith and a stronger TN community.
Anyway, I am really excited for this year! More fun, more learning, more jokes, more people, more food, and more Magnifikool!