Friday, April 18, 2008

time passing and other stuff

The other day as I was leaving my office I looked at the plaque I have hanging from when I worked in youth corrections. The plaque shows the years I was employed there and it got me thinking about the time I have spent at various jobs. I can't believe how much time has passed already since we moved to Canada. I have now been working out of this office for as many years as I worked in youth corrections. That seems bizarre to me.

I really feel as though my time working with youth changed me. Partially I think I matured just because I was getting older, but I learned some things while I was working in a facility with troubled youth. The actual work was something that really challenged me.

I was assigned to advocate for kids I didn't like and had to learn to put aside my personal feeling to be the best advocate I could be for them. I had to work with a team whose strategies were not always my own when it came to dealing with issues. I had to apologise when I was wrong and sometimes when I didn't think I was wrong. On one occasion I got into a huge fight with someone who I now consider to be a very dear friend - and it brought us closer. I wasn't the boss or in charge of anything - other that serving dinner, or supervising clean up or occasionally dispensing medications. I learned more about drugs and sexually transmitted diseases than I think I need to know to live my life.

I experienced the consequences of other peoples poor choices (being punched a few times by a kid MUCH larger than me because of another staff's poor decision) and I knocked the wind out of myself horribly sledding down a mountain trying to "keep up" with the kids on another occasion.
I laughed a LOT and even cried once or twice.

I had to learn to not take things personally, which was a huge challenge to overcome, but somehow I "got it". I was able to become a trainer for control techniques to use with out of control kids and there are some strategies I actually learned to apply to my life.

I certainly left feeling as though I had gained something from what I was doing, even if I don't know that I ever made a difference in any of the kids lives. It feels like I learned a lifetime worth of lessons in what now looks like such a short time spent there.

I got to be pretty good at ping pong.
I watched the twin towers fall with a room full of kids.
I saw Sunny Al Roker filming the weather at the Winter Olympics.
I had a chair thrown at me.
I had poo thrown at me.
I threw a massive tantrum on the floor in a bedroom and calmed down a kid who had been out of control for hours.
I once told a kid it was better to just go ahead and do drugs than to drink the bleach he was drinking to try and cover it up.
I played football.
I played basketball.
I went to comedy nights.
I folded a LOT of laundry.
I ate gross food.
I played a LOT of card games.
I taught anger management.
I taught positive control.
I went to conferences in cool locations.
I loved a boy who no-one else loved.
I heard of a youth dying a young and tragic death after "aging out" of a system which failed to meet her needs.
I gave a lot of lice treatments.

It became a huge part of my life and I am glad I was able to spend the time there when I did, with the people I did.

1 comment:

Rana and Yvan said...

here is another reminder of how much time has passed...next year it is 20 years since we graduated high school!!!! 20 YEARS!!! WTF? Where did the time go?!