If you’re like me, you encounter children in various public places that very loudly express their restlessness, boredom, hunger, or anger. My running joke is that I’m going to offer a presentation on how to properly pack a diaper bag before you take your child to the doctor’s office, church, mall, auto repair shop and generally out in public. Then it all hilariously came back to me – I DID do a presentation on how to pack a diaper bag over 15 years ago!
I was entering my junior year in college when my daughter was born. I was working part-time and going to school full-time. I was enrolled in a Communications class and given the assignment of delivering a demonstrative speech that must include props. I teach youth to leverage their talents and strengths and be true to who they are in order to succeed on their own terms. My reality was that I was a college student but I was also young single mother doing a daily juggling act. The title of my speech was “How To Pack A Diaper Bag”. I showed the best way to pack a diaper bag for a short outing and the hardest way to pack a diaper bag. My props included a “Kid Sister” doll my daughter received for her first birthday wrapped in a blanket, a large diaper bag, a small diaper bag, trial size baby toiletries, regular size baby toiletries, my purse, and my backpack. I also included snacks, books, and age appropriate toys. I didn’t have to rely on my house, pencils, or straws to entertain Kid Sister. I also didn’t feed her soda or peanuts.
You remember that my mantra is “meet youth where they are and gently guide them to the next level”, right? Of course you do. Well my professor didn’t get that memo. I received an A on the assignment and a word of advice to “get my own life”. She wasn’t being mean and really did have my best interest at heart. She didn’t understand what my life was like at that time and that I wasn’t in a place where I could benefit from her words. I don’t remember her name but today I understand her intent. Please don’t be like my professor if your youth decide to “Pack A Diaper Bag.”
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic enrichment opportunities to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.