A few weeks ago, Ed’Neika and I went to lunch to catch up. We do this every once in a while, and I’m always more than happy to pay for her. We sat at the table for a good amount of time, filling each other in on all that had happened since we had last seen each other. We talked about family and boys and our favorite summer days. Most of Ed’Neika’s favorite days had been filled with working two jobs back to back. She loves her jobs and enjoys going to work every day. As she spoke (about both work and boys), I heard the heart of a woman who is mature and wise, empowered and confident in her identity and worth. I wouldn’t say I was surprised – I’ve always seen glimpses of these things in Ed’Neika, but I was still taken aback a bit as I listened to her with a smile on my face. I think it’s what I would imagine a “proud parent” moment to feel like.
As we were getting ready to leave, we noticed the peach truck parked outside the window, and we both took interest. Learning that they only sold peaches by the bag, I reached for my wallet, but Ed’Neika extended her hand and said, “I’ve got this, Mrs. Nicole”. She made the purchase and asked for an extra bag in which she placed some of her peaches and said, “For you and Mr. Cy,” as she handed it to me with a smile. As we pulled up to her house, she thanked me for lunch and asked to do it again soon. “Next time it’s on me,” she said.
The moment was simple but significant. You see, Ed’Neika has joyfully chosen the role of giver and contributor, even though she knows she has the option to receive. She knows that she has something good to offer – made clear through the purchase of peaches and through her evident self-respect in regards to boys.
I love the role that PTM has gotten to play in shaping this strong, confident woman. We get to help teach and train and build competence, to love and encourage and build confidence. Partnered with families and teachers and all the other amazing people God places in their lives, we get to help our students grow wings, and eventually we get to watch them fly. Sometimes flying looks like graduating high school, going to college, living independently. Sometimes it looks like getting a summer job and buying peaches for a friend. I love the front row seat that PTM has offered me into the lives of our students… I love that it’s a window through which I get to watch Ed’Neika fly.