Obviously, in April I disappeared from the face of the Earth.
I began my counseling career!
I interviewed and accepted their offer to be a day treatment counselor for behavioral and emotionally challenged children. Basically, everything that I’ve been doing for the past 5 months can be summed up in this quote:
The kids who need the most love, will ask for it in the most unloving ways.
Daily, moment by moment, I’m challenged by these kids with their temper tantrums, anger outbursts, verbal and physical assaults. But, when I pursue through that ugliness there is the chance to see these beautiful vulnerable children who are really thirsting for someone to notice them and love them.
The school year was the hardest, being thrown in during the last two months, when the students were ready for the year to be over. I learned to redefine what it meant to be successful in my job. I learned that even if I tried to use all of my best redirection skills, the kids could still decide to make bad decisions. Honestly, the reason I held on through it was knowing that I’d do more harm to quit on them, and as a counselor I’ve promised not to harm them.
June came around, and with it our intensive summer program. During the summer I didn’t have to fight with them to do schoolwork that they didn’t want to do. I just had to plan 5 hours of programming…which is a LONG day with 4-6 of these time bombs waiting to go off. And each bomb is diffused in a different way, and if not diffused quick enough will probably trigger other bombs. It was a physically and emotionally draining summer.
In preparing for the school year, one of my supervisors took me to another one of our sites to tour. She asked me in the parking lot, “Do you like kids?”
Asking me a few years ago, I would have laughed in her face. I was studying youth ministry, I wanted to have deep and meaningful conversations with teenagers. When church leaders suggested I work with children, I’d be offended, believing that they were sterotyping me as a woman, when I never even spent much time babysitting.
Truth is, I love working with the kids. As much as these kids make me cry over their foul words, behaviors, and punches at me, I’ve also teared up as they happily sung “Let it Go” on the way to camp. I enjoy playing with them on such a deep level. It is exciting to see them make positive decisions.
Its the hardest job I’ve ever had, but one where I felt I’ve been challenged to be the most like Christ. Daily, moment by moment I’m granted the opportunity to love these unloved children in a way they don’t deserve, because HE loves me in a way I don’t deserve.
Here’s to the first day of school tomorrow!