"What is it?" I heard my GED instructor ask a student.
"I just can't seem to understand it all," he replied in his monotone voice. "I keep reading and it just makes less and less sense. I am just stupid. I can't do it."
The instructor asked probing questions to find out what was behind this statement.
Sitting with my office door ajar I overheard all of this conversation and my heart sank when he said, "My dad, he always told me I was stupid. I just know I will never do it."
He wears this statement day after day. His head hangs down, he rarely looks you in the eye, and his voice is monotone. He looks like a personified Eeyore.
Despite the fact that he has improved four math levels and that his comprehension scores have increased, he feels stupid. No matter what we say to him, his belief about himself is forever bruised by his childhood.
"Well, I guess I will come back tomorrow," he said as he left, with his head hanging low.
I sat for awhile thinking of him. Sad that his view of himself is so tainted, most likely damaged, and he continues to self inflict more sorrow.
My day was filled with depressing moments- a conversation with an employee in which I lacked optimism, a miscommunication with someone else that resulted in becoming guarded, sharing in the death of another employee's family member, budget cuts, and an endless list of needs.
I was glad when the day was over.
And like my client, I will come back tomorrow. Clinging to the hope of a better day--For me, for him, for my staff, for all those that we serve.