Life Notes: How I Would Like Being Immersed
by David Wheeler, Ph.D.

A few months ago, we lost one of our therapists in our most intensive program after she had a baby. Because we did not have the right person to fill the position and because we wanted to try some new approaches, I decided to fill the position for a period until we found the right person. I delegated some administrative duties and pulled back on others. Then I made the move to a small office to begin working with six boys in our CAB program. Having been somewhat on the periphery as an administrator, I did not know how I would like being immersed in the program or what I would find there; I only knew that it was something I needed to do. Well, it has been about six months now and I would like to tell you what I found.

I found a supervisor with much wisdom from years of being a “daddy” to many young people. I found a woman willing to come in on her day off to meet for a therapy session with a youth who has no mother to meet with him. I found young men who were willing to be bitten, kicked, or hit and then were still able to offer a hug or handshake within a short time after the youth calmed down. I found therapists who felt more like mothers at times, giving of themselves in various ways, sometimes at the expense of their own families. So many of the staff give of themselves for these youth who often do not have families of their own to which they can turn.

I found a nurse who ministers not only to the bodies, but to the souls of the youth as well. I found support staff who not only keep the place running and clean, but give constant encouragement throughout the daily lives of the youth and staff. I found leaders who were willing to make uncomfortable changes in order to find new ways to help the youth to move forward. I found teachers who are willing to deal with noise, distractions, and various learning problems in order to teach those who will only try. I found teachers who are willing to do whatever they can in order to motivate the students to try. I found a great deal of teamwork, which is of utmost importance in working with the challenges one faces in an agency with so many staff and so many different ideas.

So how has this experience influenced me? I have gained empathy for therapists who carry a weight of responsibility for helping youth to change, sometimes against great odds. I have gained a new respect for those on the “front lines” of childcare, enduring the most of the emotional pain of children who have been assaulted in life. I have found greater understanding of the effects of these assaults and the difficulty in the task of helping them move beyond their painful pasts. I have also had the joy of seeing youth make significant changes and sometimes being a part of that process. I have found inspiration in seeing the dedication of a number of people to the ministry of healing at the Methodist Children’s Home.

These are only a few of the things I have gained from the past six months. As I thought about these things today, I decided that some of you might want to know about it as well. Although you cannot observe these activities first hand, I hope you will be encouraged to continue supporting this ministry with your prayers, financial support, and volunteering. Your support has allowed the opportunity for these adults to serve these children in so many ways. Thank you for your love and support of the Methodist Children’s Home.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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