What does it mean to invest in others? This is a question that was brought up during my student teaching at Forest City Middle School, and it’s a question I still toss around in my brain.
There’s a difference between acknowledging someone and investing in someone. And there’s a difference, even, between caring for someone and investing in them. Investing is not only seeing that person, but getting to know them, listening to what they have to say or what they feel, and being genuinely interested in their life and well-being.
During our anti-bullying week, we showed the “Take A Seat, Make A Friend” video to our middle schoolers. It showcases random strangers interacting in a street-side ball pit, basically tossed (excuse the pun!) into a situation where they had to interact with one another.
At first it was awkward, as the people introduced themselves and tried to find things to talk about. But once they accepted each other, really listened, and really let go of their insecurities, they began to connect.
This wasn’t just simple, “Hey, how are you?” “Good. You?” type of conversations; they were real conversations. These people were investing in one another.
It’s amazing how strangers could find commonalities and connections, how they could let their guards down and accept one another, and how they could have fun in a silly ball pit on the side of the road. What this video showed our middle schoolers, was that it’s good (and important) to genuinely care about others–to ask them questions that mean something, to listen, to care about who they are.
Our anti-bullying week was focused on ways to be friends with one another, rather than enemies. To find the good, rather than what separates. This video is relevant and impacting, and I really think, for middle or high school, this could be a relevant video to show.
Life isn’t about going through the motions, smiling, and nodding. It’s about caring for others, investing in others, and loving others.