Conversations With Strangers…Again

A few days ago, Jayla and I were at the library. I was doing feedback on my student’s papers and working on a new class for a client. Jayla did what she does…made friends with a few other children and started reading to them. There was a younger group of kids and one of the girls asked Jayla if she could read to her. Within a few minutes, Jayla had a little circle of kids around her (she’s the child whisperer).

She got tired of reading to them and asked if they knew how to draw. She asked me if she could go to the front of the library and get paper. I was happy they had moved away from me and were working on drawing because they were a loud little pack. I wanted to get my work done before heading back to Verché.

About twenty minutes passed and Jayla comes back to tell me she gave her drawing to some man who asked her what she was drawing. She usually leaves a drawing at every library, mainly because she has limited space and there’s no walls in Verché for her to hang her work.

This man walks over to where I’m at and compliments Jayla’s work and we delve into conversation. Jayla told him that she was writing a book and I shared my publisher’s information with him. He said he was working on a book and wanted to go the self-published route too.

Then we started to discuss homeschooling. I should mention, this was an older man, 72. He was at the library with his grandson who had been drawing with Jayla. He told me he was watching the kids draw and one-by-one they would get up and wander off. He watched as Jayla continued to work on her drawing and became curious to know what keep her so intent on her work. That’s how their conversation struck up.

With his grandson being four, and him being older, he stated that he didn’t have the energy to homeschool but wants to instill as many values in him as he could, while he could. I was able to share all the homeschooling resources that I’ve picked up since being in Memphis (and there are a lot – Shoutout to the Memphis homeschool community)!

We exchanged information and it made me think about all the connections Jayla and I are making as we travel and meet with these homeschool families and groups. I spend way more time people watching and observing than I do striking up conversations with strangers. That’s what Jayla does. She talks to everyone.

But, as we work on this Us School project, I have to note that everyone we meet start off as strangers. After the initial greetings, it feels more like long awaited friendships. Everyone has welcomed us with open arms, with eagerness to share their journeys, and we just talk, and talk, and talk.

I can’t wait to share these stories!

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