Saturday, March 1, 2008

SPREADING AWARENESS - I LOVE MY JOB!

It is so hard for me to put into words how I felt the other night leaving from giving my last presentation. But I will try. . .



As I drove out of the long gravel and dirt hidden driveway, tears started rolling down my face. I was smiling, I felt warm, and I had a sense of peace that overwhelmed me like never before. I had just spent an hour with ten teenage girls that had for one reason or another started living together in a residential home because of needing specialized treatment due to mental, behavioral, or emotional illness that prevents them from productive and pro-social functioning in the family, at school, with peers, and/or within the community.

It was my day to spend some time with them and discuss healthy dating relationships, and healthy relationships in general. As the clocked ticked, our discussions grew intense. These girls were not the typical girls I see on a day to day basis in public high school...no, my energy level was at an all time high! One of the young ladies remembered me from last year (that always makes Mrs. D feel great! ha)

One of the exercises that the group and I were going over, had a particular question on it that became a major discussion, and also became a major breakthrough for one young lady. It was a "Self-Assessment" on knowledge about Dating Violence, so there were no right or wrong answers...

This one particular statement was, True or False - Jealousy is one way to show your boyfriend or girlfriend how much you care for them. . .This young lady marked TRUE. . .Most of the remaining group shared that they stated FALSE. My young Lady X informed quite adamently that she liked it when her boyfriend was jealous because that made her feel special, so she in turn would do the same and at times, at others expense. The girls ranted back and forth about who was right and who was wrong about their answers (I'm sure you can imagine a livingroom with 10 teenage girls)! I continued to let them discuss this issue for about three minutes.

The initiating young lady then looked at me, then one of the staff, and mentioned a quote in the Bible stating, "
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Bible, Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

She didn't quote it word for word, she started the first sentence and said basically, "Doesn't it say in the Bible not to be jealous"?

And we looked at her with a smile and nodded. Then I said in barely a whisper, "Read the statement again that you answered TRUE to". And she did. I reminded her of what she just informed us of above.

It took this young lady a few times to discuss this with us, but it actually sunk in! I also reminded her that showing respect to individuals was just as important. If someone doesn't understand your feelings about something, it doesn't mean that you have to show them disrespect just because they don't understand you; everyone has the right to their own opinions.

She shared with me that she will always "say it like it is" (oh, how she reminded me of me! - probably why the connection) I asked her if she thinks that all individuals "say it like it is". She said "no". I reminded her that since not everyone "says it like it is", they don't all understand or accept those that do. We need to respect others feelings if we deliver messages to them that may not be what they want to hear. Think before we speak! If someone upsets us, we don't need to come down on them and yell and scream...count to five....walk away...it's not worth getting ourselves into trouble or getting into a violent situation because of it.

The look that came upon her face was absolutely priceless. I LOVE MY JOB!

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