Sunday, August 1, 2010

Challenge Day

A few years ago, I had the privilege of participating in Challenge Day at our alternative high school. There’s a new show on MTV called, “If You Really Knew Me” and it’s based on Challenge Day. I was excited for the show and tonight I saw the first episode.

Here’s a small portion of Challenge Day. This is the analogy that they use in person at Challenge Day and on the show. Compare yourself to an iceberg. About 10 % of an iceberg sticks out of the top of the water. There is still 90 % of the iceberg underneath the water. The 10% is what you project to others, your appearance, your personality…what you want people to know about you. The rest of the 90% is the real you, the deep emotions that you probably don’t ever share with people, the stuff you keep inside. There’s a part of Challenge Day were we do a “If you really knew me” circle. This is where you say, “if you really knew me…..” and finish the sentence with whatever you feel people don’t know about you. It’s about sharing your feelings and making your emotions known, so you know you’re not the only one who is going through that. There are lots of kids who are going through a rough time, but they only project the happy part of their life…typical of kids. Only show people the outside, happy go lucky part of you. Challenge Day brings people together because of the things we’ve experienced.

Challenge day was GREAT. If you ever ever ever have an opportunity to participate in Challenge Day, I highly recommend it. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I was asked if I could participate. I think it was less than a year after I had been at my current job, and my coworker Sarah asked if I could be a volunteer for it. I’d never even heard of it before, but she gave me a small background and said they needed “facilitators.” I agreed to do it and little did I know what I was getting myself into. I went in there completely blind. I came out of the extremely long and emotional day with a red nose, puffy eyes, and emotionally exhausted. I was a facilitator, which meant I was like a co-leader of our group of students. There was another guy who was a co-leader in our group of 5 or so students. We were the ones to get things started in our group of kids, and all of us in the group shared stories that made us, and the rest of our group cry. We were at the alternative high school, which is typically students who have troubled lives at home, get kicked out of school for this or that, end up in juvie or whatever. So we had some really deep issues in our group and it broke my heart to hear about these kids, who were high schoolers, and what they had to deal with at such a young life. They shared that their parents had been in and out of jail, they’d never met one of their parents, their dad beat their mother, a parent was into hard core drugs, the child had been sexually or physically abused, kids were made fun of for this or for that, teen pregnancies, etc. etc. etc. The list went on and on. (This wasn’t all in my group, but these were some things that were shared from all of the kids who were participating).

I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life, and I have a good home life. I grew up with both parents in the house, and they were loving and supportive and encouraging of each other and of us kids. I’ve never had to deal with hard core drugs, or abuse of any sort, or abandonment.

This is only the tip of all of Challenge Day, and sometimes I still think to myself when I’m going through a rough time, “man, I could really use a Challenge Day and get the love and support of others.”

You can find out more here and again, if you ever get the opportunity to participate in Challenge Day, I promise you will not regret it. I really do think that every single person can benefit from participating in Challenge Day.

How would you finish the sentence, “if you really knew me….”?

1 comment:

  1. I watched this show with my daughter last night and there were parts of it that made me so tear up while other parts made me so proud of some of these kids and the growth that took place from this challenge day. my daughter and i both look forward to watching the coming shows. i would finish the sentence if you really knew me you would know that you can never judge a person like you judge a book for it's cover.