Changing Roles

The stories. Oh so many stories. As the “facilitator” of several Sages & Seekers groups over the  past few years, I have been honored to hear bits and pieces of many fascinating life stories, and was privileged to watch the Seekers’ fascination as they learned from the Sages' life experiences.  Until this spring, as the group facilitator, I have usually been in 'listening mode' while the Sages and the Seekers shared their lives and experiences. Time and again I  watched relationships build between these new-found friends despite their sixty-year age difference.  

This spring I was asked to participate as a Sage at the Rivers School in a western suburb of Boston. Instead of organizing and welcoming everyone at the first meeting, I joined the other Sages in a large circle as the high school sophomores entered the room.  We all shared brief introductions and were soon in the midst of the 'speed dating' exercise. I am usually quite comfortable facilitating these groups, but I must admit that I was a bit anxious as I met these twelve enthusiastic teens, one after the other in rapid succession. Would one of these teens think I was interesting, and would one choose to be paired with me over the next seven weeks? 

Each week, I had the opportunity to meet briefly a different Seeker for the first 15 minutes of our sessions.  I loved their enthusiasm about their own lives and goals, and was charmed by their interest in getting to know me and the other Sages.  This was a very fine group of young people that never ceased to impress me from week to week. 

I was matched with a friendly athletic young man who was very well-mannered and respectful. Peter was especially interested in my experiences as an inner city teacher in the sixties and my involvement in the Civil Rights movement.  As many Sages have told me in the past, it was very validating for me to review some of my personal challenges and triumphs with my Seeker.  I also learned about the commitment and work ethic Peter had as a two-sport athlete, while juggling a challenging academic schedule.

As the weeks flew by, Peter and I shared a mutual interest in helping to make the world a better place and the strong relationships that we each have with our respective families. Each week I would look forward to hearing about his lacrosse games and his special relationships with his younger brother and his team-mates.  It was fascinating for me to see our world through the eyes of Peter and hear about his goals for his future. 

Getting to know all of these fine young adults was very reassuring for me in this currently uncertain world. I am encouraged that the future will be secure in their hands.

                                                                               By Margie Nesson

Sages & Seekers


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