Last week a volunteer showed our guests how to make personalized cards. Self-doubt was rampant. Many guests felt they didn't have the skills, weren't creative enough, patient enough, neat enough, or smart enough. With lots of encouragement and assurance that they would have as much help as they wanted or needed, the next challenge was deciding what kind of card and who they would give it to. They were told they could make cards for any person, any occasion or "just because". It was surprizing how difficult it was for our guests to think of someone in their life they would give a card to.

Several of them decided to make a card for a staff person off work recuperating from surgery. Another gentleman decided to make himself a birthday card. All of their cards were attractive and would be appreciated by the recipient, and some certainly showed pride in what they made. Others were anxious about whether they would be good enough and whether they would be liked. They received lots of encouragement and praise for their effort.

When you add your personal touch , knowing who is going to receive it, and add your own name to the card; perhaps it feels more vulnerable, more open to judgement. When you have experienced a lot of judgement in your life, maybe it's extra hard to put yourself out there again, even if it's only a card.

Cardmaking became a session in building confidence, in raising a person's self-esteem, in allowing them to feel proud.

That's what we do at Oak Table.