Small-group counseling opportunities take place at both of my schools throughout the year. I squeeze a short lesson and activity into their lunch time, which means students are literally cramming food down their throats in their 25-minute lunch while also actively completing 1-2 new tasks/ activities. We do the most with the small amount of time we have together!
This week, I started a new girls’ “friendship club” with the overall goals to gain self-awareness, practice appropriate communication, and make and complete school goals. More importantly, though, is to always strengthen relationships and feel more important and confident!
The five girls that came are divided in their personalities and communication styles. Three of the girls are calm, quiet, and a little more reserved. While the other two are very talkative, a little dramatic, and very outgoing. I think it’s important to have opportunities to learn to communicate or even just tolerate people who are different than you. It’s not always easy, or even fun, but it’s helpful in the real world, and throughout school. It is a skill that many adults have not mastered!
This first group was very productive in that we were able to vote on a group-name, develop our expectations, find 4 words that describe you, and also complete a self-assessment (all the while cramming food down our throats!). The girls were so excited and trusting already that they wanted to share their words and assessments with the group, something I wasn’t going to ask them to on our first meeting.
What’s fun about the word search is that there are tons of adjectives crammed into the shape of a smiley face. The objective is to circle the first 4 words you see and see if they describe you. Mine definitely did! The girls were excited about this and wanted to share their’s with the group. Most of them found “happy” first.
One sweet girl found “happy” and “quiet”, as well as two other words. Another very chatty group member said that was surprising that she was happy because she thought quiet people weren’t happy. She assumed that because she is so the opposite of quiet and she also circled ‘happy’. She assumed that because someone else wasn’t like her and didn’t talk constantly, she must not be happy.
It was a great opportunity for learning because the ‘quiet’ girl looked surprised and offended. I stopped them to talk about that, to have the ‘quiet’ girl, or who I described as peaceful, calming, and refreshing, explain how she feels instead of the outgoing girl assuming. We had a quick chance to stop and realize that just because you communicate differently doesn’t necessarily make the way you feel different.
Quiet people can be very confident, while not all extroverted people are truly happy. You just never know on the surface. So many times assumptions can lead to confusion, misunderstanding, or even conflict. I am excited to see what this diverse small-group has in store. Working with people who are very different than you is not always easy and not always ideal but it can allow you to learn more about yourself. It may help you understand how others view you. And, it may help you build effective communication skills. Can’t wait to see what more we can learn from each other in weeks to come!