Junior high school and high school were some of the most confusing times in my life. There were fights over stepping on shoes, rumors, and relationships. Sports, art, hip-hop were movements that were flourishing. What I mostly embraced was football. It was common to play basketball but rare to want to take the punishment that came with playing a sport that wasn't popular or even funded in our school.
I was blessed to play football for 3 years (Pop Warner). Every end has a new beginning, right?
My soul was a nomad and dark one. I was frustrated because I had the opportunity to play for a local, more expensive school, yet I couldn't make the grades nor did I have the attendance requirements. I walked around school deflated, defeated, depressed...desperate. What could I do to stay off the streets and repent for my mistakes?
I started going to class frequently when the Dean called me into his office. I was perplexed. I was going to class, getting good grades, staying indoors and not on school grounds?! What could it be? The conversation was brief and I breathed a sigh of relief as he said to me me "I'm going to recommend you for the mediation program that's new here". I slowly asked him, "What's mediation?" I soon to walk into a brand new world of tranquility!
During 5th period, I reported into my 'meditation' classroom and noticed some of the individuals were of various ethnicities and culture. NYC is so diverse and there were tensions during that time, so this was a new experience for me. We appeared dumbfounded and puzzled as a woman entered the classroom. She introduced herself as Ms. Harts. She turned off the lights and put on a video about bullies and prejudice. I'll never forget the clippings from that first video. I fell in love with the content about differences and not globalizing or placing individuals in a box. "Miriam" was my mentor who understood me, encouraged me, and help me find my more happier spirit with conflict resolution, coping skills, negotiation, and eventually, mediation.
Every rejection is redirection.
About the author: Coming from a home that stayed strong in a violent climate, Daniel appreciates the smaller and cherish those who have been there for me through the stormy moods, the addictions, and the confusion. He understands there is youth in need; especially in poverty as materially and emotionally.