We started the session with check-in, and three rapid free writes. Then, I shared the proverb. As we sat there sharing stories of tears, of why we cry, of what moves us, it became more and more apparent to me the need to have more conversations with young men about connecting to tears and emotions, to "give permission" for tears. The socialization of young men still includes the bottling of emotions and its disconnect from release.
I shared some research done on tears that show the shedding of tears from emotion expel chemicals and minerals in stored in our bodies. Tears release more than just water, they actually physically cleanse our bodies. Ben and Leonard contemplated this as they explored in words and images their own interpretations of the proverb and our conversation.
After another very brief conversation about the work they created, we moved on to the essential story element: show the struggle between goal and obstacles.
Personally, I had been struggling with how to share this lesson with Ben and Leonard. There are definitely numerous examples from writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians the world over. But I wanted something that was relevant, was a work of non-fiction, and was current. Luckily, thanks to the wonders of Facebook, my friend Nancy posted a video about #WaterWrites, which is a project funded by the Estria Foundation.
I watched the video four times in under an hour. It moved me, and it showed the struggle between goal and obstacles tangibly and gutturally. It also explored a theme and topic I wanted Ben and Leonard to know more about: returning land, water, and resource to indigenous peoples/first nations.
Then, I had Ben and Leonard brainstorm numerous obstacles in life. Money, family, work, love, loss, finding time, school, friends, 49ers, and more were scribbled on scrap paper and put into a basket.
They were instructed to start writing or drawing about a creative or artistic goal. After seven minutes, I interrupted them by telling them there was an obstacle in their way. They could find out what it was by picking one from the basket. It was their task to figure out how to overcome that obstacle and work towards their goal.
Ten minutes later, another obstacle was presented and incorporated.
After another ten minutes, I intervened. It was time to watch another video about #WaterWrites, to see how another muralist and community struggled with goals and obstacles.
For me, I just glad my friend Nancy posted those videos. It helped shape the lesson, and it was a crucial component to Ben and Leonard's perspective shift. I wouldn't have gotten there if I hadn't been struggling with what to do. For the struggle itself revealed a path.