Charley’s World Episode Thirteen

When Charley met with his adult learners group, he noticed a difference. Their hesitancy was gone and they seemed more self-confident. They no longer seemed afraid of the out-loud reading exercises. Charley was amazed with the transformation that they had made. He couldn’t wait to talk with Nellie to get her sense of the change he saw.

“Charley, when we are teaching them reading and math, we are doing so much more. We are raising their self-esteem. I saw that in myself when you began to work with Natty. She became much more confident and so did I. What we’re doing is changing those we teach.”

“I want to tell you what I’ve done. You asked me to be the organizer so I’ve tried to imagine what’s next for the participants after our learning cycle. Look over here.” What Charley saw was the school’s coat room, but it was filled with clothes. “I got clothing donations from my church so that any of our participants can borrow decent clothes for an interview or public event. I remember I had nothing to wear when you invited me to the Thanksgiving ceremony. A church friend gave me a dress that no longer fit her.”

“Here, read these.” Nellie handed Charley a set of papers, each describing a participant in his class. “These are wonderful,” Charley said after reading them. “I never really knew this about the people I was teaching. Who wrote these?”       

“They did,” Nelly responded.

“Now look at these,” Nellie said as she handed Charley a set of resumes. Again, he was blown away. “They did these?” Charley asked. “Yes they did. I found a mentor for each of them who could help take what our participants have done and describe it in terms that reflected the higher purpose of their contributions.”

“I’ve arranged a friend of mine who runs a beauty shop to give cosmetic lessons to our women participants. For the men, I’ve arranged an HR representative to give them advice on how to look their best.”

“Come prepared next class for a sit down dinner. I’ve asked a member of my church to show them the proper dining etiquette. Personally, I’ve never felt comfortable sitting down at a formal dinner setting.”

“Nellie, you amaze me. We are boosting the self-image of those we teach. I would have never had thought of this.”

“I don’t agree. You did this for me and now I’m just creating a structure around a program that helps each of our learners to visualize what’s next in their lives. Let me hand you this. We need to also explore what’s next.”

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“The self-imagine sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment.” – Maxwell Maltz (self-help author)