Less than 9 days until summer break for the children at my school. Many of the kids at my school are high needs in multiple ways. School counseling has afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the most “challenging” children.
It has been a year in which I have been expanding my family (in a way that never occurred with kids in the local church). These kids have become part of my family. No, none of them come home with me. No, I don’t bail them out when they get in trouble. But here is what I have learned about expanding the family.
Within each of my kids, there is someone yearning for acceptance, a safe place when they are “stressed”, a relationship that they know is stable and where they can cheat at a game of UNO or learn how to put a puzzle together because no one has ever taken the time to do that with them. It is a school where volunteers are far and few between to come in and help because they are tough and it takes work to get them to trust.
And it is not just me. Each and every day I see teachers and administrators reach out to the kids in multiple ways to help and educate these children. Yes, everyone is getting tired and getting worn down by the work of education; however, the kids are part of our family and we will earnestly do what is best for them within the talents, gifts, training, and resources (which are dwindling all the time) we have been given.
And by expanding my family, these children have shaped my perspective. My focus has begun to be steered toward helping children who have high ACES scores (Adverse Childhood Score). I have begun to see everything through the eyes of kids who struggle. And yes it is disheartening and trying work. However, THEY ARE WORTH THE FIGHT. One might wonder how I don’t become burdened with all the struggles facing them, and I do. Yet it doesn’t consume me. I have come to realize I cannot change their situations (foster care brought that reality to the forefront).
And here is why I will fight for these kids:
I have come to believe in the power of ONE. One adult who is engaged in a relationship with a child greatly raises the potential of positive outcomes facing a child. No, I don’t always think that ONE is me—lots of times it is not. However, I know that for lots of our kids, that one is usually a teacher.
But I will be that ONE if opportunity presents itself. And when that happens, my family expands! And that is truly a blessing!!!