Sunday, April 28, 2019

Worthy Work

Someone came up to me after church today and asked about foster care, I could see the worry there. This was a kinship question, and I knew right away this would be a family I would be dropping off gear for, maybe a meal and praying for often. It made me think about the purpose of work, the value of productivity both compensated and non compensated. It made me think about how I am modeling work both at home, and in the world, to our children.

When we started taking care of children, I did not think of it as work. I thought of it as a way to share our families warmth. Overtime I have learned, providing good quality care to vulnerable children, is indeed, work.

I am able to help with multiple need based clothing closets, and have seen the need grow. We have had Head Start, foster families, single mothers and newly immigrated families, come in recently. Of course this is an unpaid job, and there are days it feels like really anyone could be doing it, so why me? When this person approached me at church today it was a reminder. I need to keep helping, doing this work of service, because it is needed. It is not about me as a person, but rather about the work being needed. Part of our families faith is deeply rooted in social justice and the commitment to find ways of serving.

When a set of brothers left our house I sent bags of clothing, rain boots, new matching rain coats from a friend, backpacks and sweet stuffed animals and blankets they had come to love in the month with us. The bags were packed with clothes from different homes that made their way to us, the backpacks were from a Together For Good backpack drive, the shoes from Once Upon a Child when we needed to try on many to get the right fit and fun character.

I received a text from a social worker that motivated me to jot this blog. Her note was as follows:
Thank you for your service to these boys. It is the most consistent routine they have ever had, I see it in their behavior. They are calmer, they use some self soothing that is new. You are one of the good ones. 

I have thought of those boys often this week as I go through the daily routine with our youngest, as I wash loads of dirty clothes from spring mud and line up rain boots. I think of them and I think of the other twelve placements we have had, truly hoping our families choice to work, in this specific way, has blessed them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Compassion & Teens

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” 
― Plato

In-between practice drop off and game start time I attempted to google articles on compassion for teens making decisions about their future. I found a lot of college versus trades information, some TED talks on taking gap years and how to work with fair test schools that do not require types of tests for admittance. These were all actually informative but not what I was going for. 

There IS a beautifully written blog out there, but I am going to break my blog silence and attempt my own. Feel free to share with me things you find on this topic.

We have extended community friends who lost a daughter to suicide in 2018 because she felt she was a disappointment. One of our kids has a friend who overdosed because he did not get into the college he hoped. These are just two stories whirling in my mind at 4am as I try to sleep. How do I extend compassion on a community level, to teens I do not even know, to tell them they are worthy? How do we infuse compassion and acceptance into the stale idea of life being a journey? 

I am not sure if pressure is higher, or if social media highlights success in a way that makes failure more painful, but I do know I want to be vocal in choosing acceptance over expectation.

"Bear one another’s burdens, and  so fulfill  the law of Christ." 
Galatians 6:2

We have children who will get scholarships, we have children who will not attend a four year college. Our household has special needs and high academic achievers, some combined. As we move into choosing future paths, choosing class schedules, choosing what to focus on, I want to make sure the conversation is open to creative measures of success. 

To all those wandering, no need to think you are lost. To all those scared to make a bad choice, most of your choices are likely solid. To all those thinking they let their parents down, you didn't, they are adults with their own life, their job is to love and support you. Yes, set your own standards of excellence, never stop achieving and growing. But please don't over think what someone else is doing. What YOU are doing is worthy. If you need help, ask for it, shout for it, demand the help you need.

I will worry about my kids at 4am, and yours as well. But rather than judgment what I feel is genuine curiosity, compassion and excitement for what comes next. 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ―Albert Einstein