Using His Voice for the Arts, and Others
Seventeen-year old Samuel* is a young man of many gifts. He is a talented spoken word performer and over the last couple years, has showcased them in nearly every area of the arts. What has become even more impressive than his artistic giftings, is Samuel’s ability to use his voice to defend both himself and others.
He is always the first to speak up in defense of his peers, especially the younger children who also live at the home with him. He is an incredible leader and has become empowered by the care and love he’s received growing up at the home. Recently, his voice was put to the test when someone spoke disrespectfully to him. In the moment, he didn’t respond or react, but went to Comfort Nimmyel, Back2Back staff and caregiver, to discuss.
“He was visibly upset and both surprised and bothered that someone would speak to another person that way,” shared Comfort. “I listened carefully to him and then asked him, ‘what do you think you can do about this?’” He took a moment and answered thoughtfully, “I believe I owe it to myself to talk to this person directly.”
Samuel had a respectful conversation with this adult about how they made him feel, and it resulted peacefully, and with an apology. He could have reacted hastily, or even gotten temperamental in return, but he didn’t. He remembered his worth and value, he spoke to a safe and trusted adult about how to handle it, and he used his words to voice his hurt.
This is the power of advocacy and sponsorship – giving children the space and mindfulness to understand their, and others, worth, and that this means we all deserve to both give and receive respect. We are grateful teens like Samuel have the tools to conduct and initiate hard, but respectful, conversations.