Very thankful for days like today. I had the privilege of running a songwriting workshop at the National Children's Medical Center in the adolescent psych unit.
We had a nice group of 12 this session, all with different, but awesome tastes in music. These kids have quite the stories--I don't get to see any information about them before the session, but I have heard some of the regular scenarios/reasons for them to end up in the unit and it is horrible what a lot of these kids have to go through. They seem to be more at ease after a few minutes with the group and getting to see me play some of their favorite songs. One of the girls was a drummer and her favorite band was Linkin Park, so I busted out some hybrid theory for her and she was pretty pumped about it. A bunch of them really liked John Mayer and Ed Sheeran, so I was able to connect with a bunch of the kids right off the bat. It gets them in the mood to start doing their own writing the more comfortable everyone cab be in the sterile setting of the florescent lit room in the hospital. It's amazing what the guitar is able to do for breaking down barriers and establishing a sense of trust.
The kids were turning over pages of lyrics. The topics all seemed to revolve around lost love. Do you remember how devastating those feelings were, before everyone had smart phones, back when we were 15 or 16? Imagine it now... Constant reminders of the people you become infatuated with, constant reminders of all the people in the world who are able to find "love." The staff of the unit thought it was odd how much they were willing to share about their relationships with their significant others, but I totally see why; it's the most important thing to them, especially in a tough home life situation. Aside from the emotional roller coaster getting into a serious relationship can do, tack on all the stresses and physical hazards that come with sexual activity without proper protection or knowledge. It hurts to think about the cycle this perpetuates.
After getting with each kid individually to put music to their lyrics, we all shared what we worked on with the rest of the group and the amount of self-esteem and self-worth that was pouring out of their faces was such an honor to be a part of. Every time I get to run a session I leave with a whole new outlook on life and feel very humble and inspired to continue to hunt for whatever my message to these kids and the rest of the world will be. Thanks again to the hospital for inviting us in, I can't wait until the next workshop!