Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Out on a limb..

Another shooting. What a world we live in that we have to say "another". As counselors, I think we might see the shooting from a different perspective. Obviously we all see tragedy, brokenness, sadness, and the hurt. But I also see relationships, or lack of. What if the shooter had been invited to sit at a lunch table, been asked how their weekend was every once in a while, been looked at in the eye by another person, and said I see you.

When I see another school shooting come across my newsfeed, I see a call for relationships. A call for going out on a limb, possibly (and probably) feeling uncomfortable, and making a connection with someone that needs another person to stand next to him/her so they don't feel so alone in this broken world.

To the shooter in Parkland, and every other one before him: I want to change for you. I want to go out on a limb more often to find the kid, just like you, who is hurting and desperately needing support, and extend a hello, a how are you, a short conversation. These little limbs, might turn into branches, which could turn into a tree. A tree with roots. Roots that go beyond themselves, and into deeper relationships to foster lasting friendships.

While I cannot change what has happened, I can change my view of where I am going and who I am going out on a limb for.  Here are a few ways I think this could happen:

1. Ask teachers who they believe to be lonely/without relationships.
2. Go to the playground every day, even for 10 minutes, and see who is being left out, or choosing to be alone consistently.
3. Go to the lunchroom and notice who is moving tables often, still trying to find their group. Also look for those who are alone, unengaged in conversation regularly.
4. Have lunch bunch with every kid in the school (I start in August, usually end in January and do groups of 4) and make note of the ones who don't seem to have strong relationships, or are able to connect with their classmates.

One counselor per 500+ kids seems impossible, and to be honest, some days it is. I think the more conselors share what they are doing, how they are doing it, and encourage one another, the closer we can come to reaching as many kids as possible at a heart level- not a check the box level. Tell me what is working for you!

Going out on a limb, looking to create roots,

Your Floridian Chick

Monday, February 12, 2018

Counseling as a parent

Our lives have changed, and all for the better. A little boy was welcomed into the world recently and our hearts just about exploded. After many prayers and hopes, we were granted a healthy, beautiful son and have been falling more in love with him every minute since his arrival. 

I chose this profession largely because of my passion for children and schools. While my empathy has grown with each passing school year, nothing has changed my empathy level and heart more than this little boy. 

Parenthood was the best thing that could have ever happened to my counseling skills and career (+life!). Prior to this little person being born, I had empathy for parents and students who were going through difficult seasons. I tried to see it through their eyes and help when and where I could. 

Now, when I have parents and/or students share their struggles, I can see myself in these parents. They are hurting because their child is hurting. While my son is too young to have struggles in school, he will. He is going to stuggle and he will need help at something, somewhere. I am going to need help. They say it takes a village, and I know I will be reaching out to my village for help. 

Seeing parents hurting makes me think of how I will feel. I see that life dealt them cards they might not know what to do with, and they are looking for help. How amazing that we get the opportunity to help those families and do our job each and every day so that those parents who came in worried or confused, can walk out feeling even a little better, knowing that someone else is in their village with them. 

I still have a ton of learning and growing to do, but this little boy of mine is helping me to be the best I can be for me, for our family, and for students and their familes. 

Learning more from a baby than I ever knew possible, 

Your Floridian Chick