Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Geoff & Rahzah's Story

I am what you might call structurally challenged. I would rather sit through 6 hours of Algebra class than run an errand to Home Depot. If a light in my kitchen goes out, I would sooner grab a lamp from the living room than change the thing. And if that weren’t sad enough, the cruel Fates of Youth Mentoring Connection matched me with an engineering and science genius named Rahzah.

Several Christmases ago, when Rahzah had reached the ripe old age of 12, I decided to get him this impossible-to-build motorcycle, helicopter, monster truck combination thing. It was like Legos on steroids and just looking at the box filled me with anxiety. The box came with about 40 plastic bags filled with rubber bands, mini screwdrivers, lugnuts, and more widgets that I can’t pronounce. It was like giving a child an Ikea Living Room set and asking him to get to work. Strangely enough though, Rahzah loved his Christmas present. And I loved that Rahzah loved it, and I loved it even more that he thought I was cool enough to help him put this beast together.

So twenty minutes into our project, Rahzah looks over at the section I’m working on and says, “That doesn’t look right.” To which I respond, “What do you mean? I’m doing exactly what the directions tell me to do.” And he says, “Why are you using the directions?” Calmly, I try on my most didactic mentor voice and explain to Rahzah that, “The directions are important.” He laughs (a bit too loudly, I thought), grabs my section, and says, “Watch.” He then scatters the 5,000 microscopic pieces all over the Living Room, and I’m forced to sit there in horror as he puts together the motorcycle, takes it apart, then builds it again as a helicopter. Never once glancing at the directions!

I was humbled, I was in awe, I was proud. I left Rahzah’s house grateful to have this young man in my life and even more grateful that he was so patient with his slightly dim-witted mentor.

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