Saturday, August 18, 2012

Grow Young (With You)

So I have successfully survived Week 1...

I'm not really sure how much I'm allowed the share about the kids I'm working with, so to be safe, I will NEVER use real names and may alter little details for their protection.  But, I did want to share with you some of the things that happened this week.

Talk with my supervisor and HR before going to Rome to get finger-printed and drug-tested. This sounds routine, and it was.  I'm also quite certain that I passed with flying colors.

"Ever been to Rome, Georgia..."  I HAVE! Check that off the bucket list.

Get the official tour from the CEO and learn some of the Murphy-Harpst history.  Also, meet some of the staff and kids.  Dinner at Bojangles with two other staff and three of the girls.  I have realized that meeting the kids in a smaller setting is better, because I actually remember them.  Hopefully, these opportunities keep coming.

Meeting with the clinical team.  The staff has a holistic approach and these are the cottage leaders that discuss how certain kids are doing, where they're seeking improvement, etc.  Slightly awkward for me, since I barely knew any of the staff, let alone the kids they were talking about.  The afternoon was relaxing and I spent some quality time with my kitty.  I sat outside for a while and met several of the staff as they were leaving.  These quality conversations are the beginnings of some fruitful friendships, I'm certain.  That evening I had dinner with the CEO and his wife at their home, which was a blessing.  Having a personal relationship with fellow staff makes work more enjoyable for everyone.

Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training-Day One
There are protocols and techniques for intervening in crises, so it's necessary that all staff are educated before they start.  I learned a LOT.  Chapel in the evening.  I was introduced to the kids present and got to worship with them.  One of the older boys told me he was only coming if I was helping lead the songs, so I got roped into standing in front (without microphones luckily).  Next week, I'll be sharing my story.  Right now, I'm trying to think of a creative way of doing that.  It will come, I'm sure.  My next best friend, the IT guy, installed a modem that gives me the power of the world wibe web in my apartment. YAY! (Definitely a highlight)

Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training-Day Two
Review and testing!  I forgot why I loved middle/high school.  Before college, I was always good at tests.  Apparently I still am.  Yay for being certified and starting rotations next week.  Essentially every day next week, I will be in a different cottage with a different group of kids for eight hours.  Everyone new hire does this when they come on, so I'm thinking I'll make it, but I'm still a little nervous.

I picked up a Subway sandwich for lunch and took my book and blanket to a local park.  The sun felt great, so I laid down and started reading after lunch, enjoying the warmth on my back, the smell of the chlorine in the fountain nearby, and the sound of the kids screaming and playing in the fountain.  Then it got hot...  So I moved under the trees and continued my peaceful afternoon.

Seems like a pretty average week, but I wanted to share the BIG highlight last.  On Thursday, after Chapel, one of the girls asked if we could talk.  I complied (like I always do and will) and we sat on some swings for at least a half-hour as she shared her life, her struggles, and her journey with me.  She asked me why I wanted to work with kids.  Considering that's the question I address in my call story, I offered to share that.  Sharing in front of strangers or a large audience is easier for me and I struggled a little one-on-one, but when I finished, she looked at me with a smile I hadn't seen from her all day.  Maybe, the hope in my story will give her a little hope for hers.

As for my afternoon of rejuvenation, I remembered that not only do I see God in all God's children, but I am refreshed by the reminder of God's presence.  As I sat in the park today, a song came to mind: "I want to grow young with you, too young to ever grow old."

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.                                   -Matthew 18:3

There are so many beautiful things about children.  Their innocence, their curiosity, their hunger, their passion... I could go on and on.  Most of all, they have not formed as many biases and judgments about people and the world.  One boy walked past me and without hesitating said Hi with the biggest grin.  I was talking a few weeks ago about self-fulfilling prophecies and that we can't enjoy something if we don't believe we can or will.  If we walk through life dreading every day, hating our jobs, and expecting relationships to fail; life will be dreadful, our jobs will be terrible, and our relationships will fail.  It isn't always sugar and daisies, but believe that after the rain, the flowers will bloom.

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