Confessions of Mr. Cynic

I have to admit it; it’s something that’s been on my back for a while, and I just want to get it off. But I have to confess… I really don’t think I like kids all that much. They’re fine and fun to hang around, but if asked to make a living off of working with kids, I wouldn’t flinch to say no. Now, it might not sound pretty, but I like to be honest and that’s as honest as it get. Now, I know what you’re thinking, why is a guy that doesn’t think he likes kids, working with kids? He must have something wrong with his thinking. Clearly he doesn’t have enough sense to put two and two together, right? That is a very valid point; most of the other interns here actually want to be teachers or work with kids in some way. (Personally, I want to be a lawyer, the closest I’ll be to working with kids is child custody law.)

My reasoning for working with PT this summer is that I used to be a kid in this program, and I am pretty sure that without this program I would have gotten into some very sticky situations as a kid. I felt really inspired to help give back to the kids whose position I was once in. I heard that I could be an intern, and I didn’t think twice about it. I can remember when I was in the youth program, the interns were always the guys I looked up to and who I wanted to be like. They inspired me to want to be better, and I want to be able to inspire the kids at my site to be the same way. The patience they had with me and the other kids really didn’t hit me until I had been placed in their shoes. Now I understand how hard they worked to help me and how hard they worked to do what they loved. Although I might not want to be a teacher, I now have a deep appreciation of what they do, and I’m really proud of my fellow interns that want to be teachers. I have a whole new respect for the work they do, what we are doing now, and the love we show to these kids.

Now, I have another confession. I’m an anti-social kind of person. Again, why is this guy living in community with 90 other people, people he doesn’t even know, if he’s anti-social. The answer to that is that I’m trying to grow this summer by placing myself in an unfamiliar environment. That means trying to talk to more people and be more social. And at PT, there are plenty of opportunities to talk and be social with people. Here at Project Transformation a lot of what we talk about is our experience with the kids. This kid did this, this kid did that. There’s a lot of time to make stories and to tell them as well. One of my favorite times to tell stories is the car ride back from site. And boy, do we have stories to tell on our car ride back from Christ’s Foundry. All five of our interns ride back in one car, pretty much packed into the car like clowns. But, the rides back are always the highlight of my day. I usually stare out of the window and think to myself, until someone gets the conversation started, and we start talking about what happened that day. Some stories are cute and adorable, like when Jose lost his tooth in an apple and went around showing it to everyone, even asking the pastor to bless his new lucky tooth. Some stories can be just plain frustrating, like when Jose just won’t sit down and pay attention during book club. Sometimes our conversations can stray from site talk and can can be lead to more varied topics.  We are all college students and can talk about almost anything. During this time I feel the most at home. I feel that I can let out my opinions and be who I am.  Everyone is open to talk about everything, and I’m most appreciative for that. Just the ability to have a mature conversation with someone, about the most random things in the world, is what makes taking myself out of my element worth it, one of the best experiences in the world.

Cristian Perez
Intern at Christ’s Foundry UMC
The University of Texas at Austin

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