Tuesday, July 22, 2014

yes, i am needy

Today in class I was talking to my students about how much they are needed. Each of them is needed by many people. Their existence is not irrelevant or ornamental. It's vital to the lives of the people who love them, important even to acquaintances. Each of us is needed, I said. More than we know. And we need each other. A lot.

One of my students raised his hand--a student who contradicts me a lot, usually in a tone of disdain--and said, "No, I don't think you're right. What you're saying makes you sound really needy."

I said to him, "You're right. I am needy. I'm very needy. I need food multiple times a day. I need water every day or I'll get very sick. I need the farmers who raise the food I eat. I need the people who make my clothes. And I really, really need other people to care for me and interact with me. I am human: I was born needy and I will be needy until the day I die."

I don't always have the right thing to say at the right time, and usually I drive away from class lamenting all the opportunities I missed, all the ways my brain froze when I should've had something inspiring or witty to say. But with this one, I felt like I got it right. I am needy, and so are we all. I need other people--I need you, my readers--and I full-heartedly admit it. And I want my students to know that it's not only not weird or uncool to be needy, it's actually a beautiful part of being human, to be so profoundly and utterly dependent on each other.

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