A Place of Growth pt. 2: Relationships
Well, I just told you about my classes and a couple of jokes spawned therein. However, I have yet to share one of the most important/one of my favorite parts of the Greenhouse. The relationships I have developed and/or cultivated through the Greenhouse have been amazing (I say "and/or" because I've known some people longer than I've been at Greenhouse...LOTS longer for some), whether they have been with students or adults. I've divided the Greenhouse relationships into three areas, areas I will talk about at length. Like I said, this is one of the best things I have experienced at the Greenhouse, so I hope to do everyone justice. Put on your memory caps and journey back with me a little ways. And pray I don't embarrass anyone...too much.
TUESDAY KIDS: For my first three years of high school, I went to Greenhouse on Tuesday. Ah, the days where weekends weren't fright-filled and Sunday nights were football night and not lunch-making night! But I digress (like a Mr. Parker class! Boom!). Anyway, on Tuedays were other children, from the Grammar and Logic children. These classes proceed Rhetoric and gave us older kids a chance to practice what our headmaster calls "servant leadership." We listened as the kids memorized verses, stamped their hands for certain jobs, hung out with them for lunch, saw them in plays, and played games (Sharks 'n' Minnows being the go-to game most of the time). We were considered "Mega Buddies" and had a group of "Big Buddies" (Logic-level kids) and "Little Buddies" (Grammar-level kids). I've never been able to gauge how good I am with younger children (apparently, I do fine, but I've never been able to determine at what age I become "fine" at interacting with), but these kids made it easy. I got to know ones who weren't even my Buddies, and it was always cool to say hi or give a high-five to a kid or two as I walked down the halls. My favorite way of interacting were the headmaster's storytimes at the end of each day. During my sophomore year, he started a thing where Rhetoric students could take part, in order to give the stories a little more personaility. At first, I was nervous in participating, story-nerd part of me aside. I've stated before that I am not comfortable in presenting anything in front of people, and this was no exception. Eventually, I got used to it and even liked it, getting to the point where I was disappointed whenever I didn't get a chance to partake. Mondays have been emptier, though I have interacted with my sister's freshman class some. They're a good bunch of kids, but I've never gotten as close to them as I did the Tuesday kids. Seeing those guys and girls grow in three short years was pretty awesome.
TEACHERS: I've had four, great Greenhouse teachers over the high school years, all of whom have been able to teach me so much. Under their guidance and teaching, I've learned lots about the world in various ways. Through science. Through history. Through literature. I've been shown God's creation, from Newton's Laws to small cells. I've been shown how one aspect of His creation, humanity, can build and destroy, write beautiful stories and poems, and fill His purposes or their own. There are two things that I have really come to love about my Greenhouse teachers. The first is that I wasn't just a number. The teachers came to know me by name, some by nickname. They knew what I liked and what I didn't like. The same went for all my friends, too, and I'm pretty sure for the other Rhetoric classes as well. They were people I could comfortably have conversations with, school-related or not. And, at the end of my time with them, I want to stay in touch, through Facebook or however God intends. I WANT to come visit next year, just to see old faces. The second thing I loved was that they were challenging. "What?" you may exclaim. "A student condoning a challenge? How can this be?" Well, it is, in any event. Work for Greenhouse has been challenging and nail-biting, causing hard weekends and hard nights, but it has been for my benefit. Nothing I've done there has harmed me. People have told me and my friends we will be well-prepared for college, and I believe them! The challenges have only served to help us grow, and I am very grateful for that chance. Teachers gave me steps, but they never held me by the hand. When I was younger, I had a tendency to do that with my mom. Not with these teachers! They helped out however they could, but it was ultimately my choice whether to sink or swim. And I have swam. And I will keep swimming, remembering what I have been taught. Oh, and they tolerated/laughed at my jokes. That's always a plus in my book.
FRIENDS: Now we come to the best of the best. Without friends, Greenhouse wouldn't have been a house to me. They made classtime a joy. Because of them, I actually looked forward to Tuesdays and then Mondays. Funny thing, though: In freshman year, guys and girls were fairly segregated, but we had those walls torn down by sophomore year. People have come and gone, but we've always been a group. There are some classmates who I considered to be better friends than others, but we all still talked and laughed. Everyone was a joker at some point, and we made various inside jokes (some of which are listed in my previous blog, in case you're starting here) over the years. I've gone to parties, book clubs, and a dance with some of these guys. I chat on Facebook and through email all the time with them. We've formed a bond of friendship that I hope extends beyond the Greenhouse walls. I've even become friends with some of the Rhetoric students on the other days as well, showing that Greenhouse is a community. We're individual families brought together into a larger community, a large family I want to stick with for years to come. I don't want to lose touch with my friends, and it has recently been my prayer that, somehow, God will let us keep in touch. I love you guys, and I don't want to lose touch.
Different relationships have made Greenhouse the blessing it is. With friends and teachers, I've become a part of a wonderful community. I've learned from it, served it, and enjoyed it. There are so many wonderful things about Greenhouse, and I'm happy to have been a part of so much. May God continue to carry the Greenhouse so it can continue to bless children like it has blessed me!