Last week I began working as a volunteer at Newton Elementary school as part of a pilot program called Racing Readers. Racing Readers is a partnership between Simon Fraser University, the TD Community Engagement Center and the City of Surrey School District. It was my goal at the beginning of my university career to become more engaged in my community, and this program has answered my prayers.
Along with other volunteers, I have the opportunity to work once a week with children in grades 3-5 doing physical activity like circuit training, running and games (hence “racing”) and literacy activities such as reading and journal writing (hence “readers”). Even though I am two weeks in, I am so humbled to work in this position as a volunteer with other students who want to help these kids.
The cool thing about kids is how open they are. Yesterday during my second session, some of the girls that I had spent time with the previous week spent more time with me. One of the girls, who is 8 years old I believe, asked me the following question:
“Do you have a husband?”
I laughed and I said no, I am not that old. She then laughed too and then asked another question.
“Do you have a boyfriend? I really want a boyfriend. One that will buy me all the toys that my mom won’t buy for me.”
I laughed at this, but inside of me I was surprised and shocked. Not at the fact that her mom would not buy her toys (the nerve of that mother!), but at the fact that she wanted a boyfriend at such a young age.
Her friends nodded their heads in agreement. One of them piped in to talk about her older sister’s boyfriend and how much fun they had together.
“I think I’d have way more fun with a boyfriend.”
This really shocked me. These girls, if I may remind you, are 8-9 years old. This was an alarming thing to hear, and yet, not so alarming at the same time.
The “I want a boyfriend” phenomenon has seemed to take off in young girls, but even girls my age hum and haw over finding their one true love. “Forever alone” has become a lamentation. “One true pairing” is the goal. And don’t forget the relationship goals of making breakfast with, snuggling with, stargazing with, or exploring with your significant other.
I suppose I would be foolish to say that at one point I did not have this yearning for a boyfriend, or even that from time to time I feel a pang of wistfulness and hope for the one to come along.
But I want to share something.
You do not need to keep searching. You do not need to constantly put yourself out there. You do not need a man (or woman)… yet.
Personally the past few months have been busy, crazy and filled to the brim. There was no time to think, only time to do. There was limited time to spend with friends, which made me sad. On top of that, there was definitely no time for boys.
Yes, there would be the occasional looker in lecture that made me swoon. But I told myself that I was not going to be actively looking. I would wait until it was my turn, and when that turn comes, I will know.
I guess you can say that after a couple disappointments and life lessons, I decided to hold out on the dream of finding my one true pair. I decided to focus on my studies, deepening my faith through Catholic Christian Outreach, making new friends and connections, deepening my relationship with my family and above all, finding out where my life will eventually lead.
At the end of the day, I found that there was no time to even think about boys or how to impress this one or that one. And in the long run over this term, I found myself happier. Not because I think boys are unnecessary, but because I was not expecting to fall in love with someone and not beating myself up because of it.
I am not saying that I am confident that someone will come along. I feel that there has to be the right balance of waiting and pursuing, but only when I am ready. Like what I told the girls at Racing Readers, “Not every boy will be a Prince Charming. But when the right one comes, he will be your Prince Charming. Until then, love yourself and love your friends and family – they are the ones that will get through the good times and the bad times even before your future boyfriend comes along.”
Furthermore, I want this person to love God just as much as they love me. I am willing to get my life together and figure out who I am before I jump into anything long term with the end result being wedding bells.
Ironically, the new Taylor Swift song “Blank Space” has resonated deeply within me ever since I listened to it for the first time last week. “So it’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames”, she says. This has never articulated teen love so realistically, especially with so many young relationships ending with friendships being broken. No one deserves to have friendships broken or have them go down in flames – I am willing to wait for my forever, the forever that everyone deserves.
I can’t believe that the semester is already over! Here is to new experiences, new lessons, new friends and love for all, and spill ink while you do.