Teri McDowell Ott
I thought I'd get bored by the problems of the young. But I've grown to cherish interactions with students—especially the religiously unaffiliated.
I caught myself getting overwhelmed one night. I’d been distracting myself from my stress all day long—running from meeting to meeting, answering emails, sending e-mails, moving from one uncompleted task on my desk to the next. When I finally got home and needed to focus on my children, though, I no longer had the energy to distract myself. So the stress I had successfully avoided all day slowly began to unravel itself and take over. The power of emotion is extraordinary.
I have three fantastic student interns this year who are learning about the hard work of welcoming. At our college’s Presbyterian House we host a “Dinner and Devotion” program every Sunday that we advertise as “All Students Welcome.” Of course, not all students feel welcome attending a religious and spiritual life program, unless you work hard to let them know that you mean it—that they really are all welcome.
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