Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Willard and the Ciphers in the Snow

(Mentor Darrel, you will love this.)

The first time I ever remember having my conscious seriously pricked by media was when I was in the summer of my 12th grade year.  I attended my first school leadership camp.  The director, Darrel, showed us a short movie called "Cipher in the Snow."
And I quote:

The story is about an ostracized teenager, Cliff Evans, who following his parents' divorce has no friends and becomes a completely withdrawn "cipher". Then on a school bus, he asks to be let off, and collapses and dies in the snow near the roadside. His school's math teacher is asked to notify his parents and write the obituary. Though listed as Cliff's favorite teacher, he recalls that he hardly knew him. After getting a delegation to go to the funeral - it's impossible to find ten people who knew him well enough to go - the teacher resolves never to let this happen to another child in his charge.

My family says I have what we call the "inviting" problem.  I think I learned it partially from my parents, my dad especially and partially it is in my natural wiring.  I cannot stand to think that I am or we are doing something nice or fun and not invite someone I think might like it too to come along.  I can't help it.  I know it has at times driven my family,my birth family, my best friends, etc... CRAZY. 

Not everything is fun though.  One time I invited a girl I barely knew (I didn't even know her last name) to come stay after she was kicked out her house.  She stayed two years.

This week I was talking to a woman about how her husband was recently taken to locking her and their child in the house.  She had a restraining order against him but buckled and took it off.  I gave her my card and told her if she needed somewhere to stay, she could come.

I had a habit (that has been broken I must say through peer pressure) of inviting in door to door salespeople for a drink or snack. 

I cannot help it.  My name is Valerie, and I am an inviter.

Back to the Ciphers.  The first time I saw that movie short, I cried and cried.  I swore I would always love the Ciphers (heck, I feel like myself some of the time---who doesn't?) and always make a conscious effort to invite them along.  I guess if I was defining my influencial moments like Dr. Phil says I should, I would consider seeing that movie one of them. 

I was a "big fish" in a small town and never felt like I was a cipher.  I didn't know what that meant socially or emotionally, but I understand now.

Which brings me to Willard (in a rambling meandering round-about way...).  The man in the video talks about why he does what he does because it sounds like he was a cipher.  Watch this.  Thanks for sending it on Kathy.

Hats off to you, Willard, for NOT becoming a cipher in the snow.  For finding your place in the world, strangely enough, in the empty space in the eye of a needle.  :) 

Who wants to come to dinner?