The Power of Unplanned Moments

Hannah enjoying an unplanned moment with elementary participants!

If there is one thing I have learned over and over again at Project Transformation it is that the best moments are not the ones that are created, anticipated, or planned, but the ones that just happen. I am an organizer and perfectionist, and I love having a thorough plan for the day. However, I have never heard a child say, “Wow! I love your plan, Hannah.” While the planning is important, I always manage to forget that it is the spontaneous moments that are most impactful.

Two years ago as a Project Transformation intern I struggled with one particular girl throughout the summer. Every time I turned around, she had a new and creative way of getting into trouble. One day, the only seat left at lunch was right beside her. Neither of us wanted this, but I decided to be the bigger woman and just deal with it for that day. While we were eating, mostly in silence, she wondered aloud about how eyes work. I was totally blindsided, and simply said, I’ll find out and get back to you. That night, I printed out a wealth of information about eyesight, and for the rest of the week we sifted through that information. We ended that week with a better understanding of eyes and each other.

Fast forward two years to the first day of site this summer. I saw her name on the list and was immediately wary. The time we spent learning together that week holds a special place in my heart, but I was not even sure if she remembered me. She came late that day, and when I finally saw her, I told her how happy I was that she came back and asked if she remembered me from two years ago. She smiled and said, “Yes, you are the one who taught my about how eyes work.” In all of my efforts that summer to be a “good” intern and impact the lives of my kids, I forgot the importance of being present. My goal for this summer is to both plan awesome programming for the kids we all love so much, but also to make an effort to be fully present in each moment. The planning and effort suddenly seem miniscule when the simple moments are what transform us.

Hannah Podschun
Chapel Hill Reading Coordinator
Southwestern College

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