Monday, March 28, 2011

Serving as a Dorm Mother

“You’re so mean; other dorm mothers don’t do this.”
Deep breath.
“You know the rules of quiet time, sweep the common room and stop disturbing others. Others are trying to study.”
“You take everything too far. You’re too strict.”
Deep breath, don’t say something sarcastic.
“Rules are rules, stop arguing or you can sweep tomorrow too.”
More girls piping up with their opinion.
“The other dorm moms are lenient.”
“Know they aren’t, they are enforcing the same rules.”

Such is an average night in Dorm B. Why must they argue everything? Quiet time is an hour and thirty minutes out of their whole day when they are asked to study, not visit in the hall or mingle in the common room. In the midst of such frustration, it can be easy to loose sight of why I'm here.

I appreciate mothers a billion times more because of these experiences. Dorm mothers at Banani are expected to be spiritual mothers responsible for the moral and spiritual upliftment of the girls at the school. That’s not easy! It takes patience, diligence, and flexibility. Oh, and I am finding that it also takes a lot of creativity….

What’s it like to be a dorm mother? Simply put, it’s like having a little sister….only 18 little sisters. If you are sucking a lollipop, they are going to want one too. If you tell them what to do, they are going to kick and scream. Of course, the girls’ perception of you changes with time as they get to know you and you get to know them. Certain dorm activities have also boosted the overall feeling of respect, courtesy, and unity within the dorm, including dorm discussions and arts and crafts night.

That said, I’d like to begin the New Year with a few dorm goals:

1. To foster feelings of unity and respect between the girls and I, and in the dorm as a whole.

2. To address issues that have repeatedly come up, including backbiting and courtesy. Especially for the girls to understand the effects of backbiting on their own souls and the hearts of others.

3. To create a safe and calm environment within the dorm so that students can trust each other and focus on their studies.

4. To empower the girls to seek higher goals in life and to think about the type of adult they want to become, in both their spiritual and professional lives. To convince them that life’s not about being famous and just having fun.


  1. Hi! I'm Heather's mom and I found your blog in a funny way. I was looking for images of Naw Ruz on google when I noticed one of the thumbnail pictures, I thought the woman looked like Mrs. Makendi so I clicked it and there were the Banani youth volunteer's during Ayyam-i Ha! Of course the photo led me to your blog. I love your blog! You keep it updated, have such beautiful pictures, and you write so eloquently :)
    I love that you girls are truly trying to make and be a difference in the lives of the Banani students. It's not easy but it will be rewarding!
    Please know you all are in my prayers during your time of service to our beloved Faith!
    Much love,

  2. Checked in today and was rewarded with your two new posts. Love both! The stories you will tell someday and the wonderful, beautiful person you're becomming. I'm very eager to know how the monkey fruit bowls turn out. Keep up the good work. Our love and prayers are sent daily. Grandma

  3. Never lose sight of your goals but never be discouraged. Children learn so much from your gentle, (but firm!) perseverence. More prayers from here for you, my Monkey girl!!