“All in a Day’s Work”
My! What a versatile statement that is. Why, it could involve so many things. A lot of the time for me it become a dismissive statement when someone verbalizes awe at something that happened in the course of my day. You see, I am the clinical director of a delinquent boys group home. Believe me, there can be a number of incredulous things that happen in the course of a day. We may have had attempted assaults or AWOLs along with sick and vomiting boys or simply complaining boys. Rarely is there a quiet, boring day where I work.
I have done this same kind of work for over 37 years. I have worked in only three different agencies and with different populations. Yet many of the same things happen each day. One must be prepared for the day being anywhere from pleasant and to total chaos. Often I feel as though I have sixteen sons and they are all on the same “cycle”. Grumpy and whiney to grumpier and whinier. They are rarely satisfied and even more rarely smiling. (I guess if I were 15 or 16 and locked in a group home with a bunch of delinquents I wouldn’t be smiling much either).
Then there is this very rare day where one boy says “Good Morning, I missed you while you were gone” or they call after being discharged to tell me how they are doing and give a good report of going to school or getting a legal job, then say “I love you” before they hang up. I do love my 16 boys. Even if they aren’t always very lovable. They know they are loved also. They are told that repeatedly over the 7 months they are with us. In fact we are known across our state as a group home that “coddles” the kids yet are successful with them. They aren’t my birth children but they were placed there for a purpose and not just randomly. I have always felt that God put certain boys in my path to help them and thus they would bless me. And, they have blessed me greatly. Yes, it is very hard work. Very emotional work as well. We have lost a few along the way and our hearts were broken. A healthy young man with a future ahead of him, falls back into old behaviors and goes to rob a young woman and ends up being shot and killed by her in her attempt to save herself from him. This one really took a toll on our hearts. I say “our” hearts as all who work there for any time at all will learn to love at least most of the boys. I cannot count the times when there have been tears in my eyes and my boss’s eyes as one or another of the boys leave to go home. They have been taught new ways to think and believe as well as learning to cope with life in more appropriate ways. Often they return to a home that has made few changes and they must try to fit back in to the family, with their new beliefs. A struggle that few would want. Then a month or so after they discharge the phone rings and that eager voice says’ Hey, Ms. Kathy, I got a job”. That’s it! That’s what makes me get up and go to work every day. We don’t fix them all, but they all will know that they have been cared about and loved for a time.
My job may be very different from many others. Yet there are some things that are the same. Crazy, frantic days, boring quiet days, tedious report writing days even exhausting days.
So, how do we all handle those days?
Why, we just sum it all up in one small statement “it’s all in a day’s work”.
Kathy Crow M.S., L.P.C.