Friday, March 25, 2011

Books and Covers and Stuff Like That

I wrote a recent blog post about one knows a tree by the fruit it bares. it dove specifically into Christian Dating from more then being on the superficial level. You know what I mean, having the physical attraction first then maybe seeing whether you like the inside or not. Many times having the eye candy is all that is desired until maturity sets in then the proverbial rose colored glasses comes off. What ensues there after is not pretty. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be because walking by sight rather then by faith has its disadvantages (Romans 8:5-14 AMP)?

Be as it may, I woke this morning thinking about a client I use to have some years ago. While finishing my last year of an undergrad degree, I was employed as a Youth Specialist. In our cottage, there were 12 at risk teen aged girls that I, along with 11 other Specialists, were to monitor and redirect behavior for them to be mainstreamed back into society. One in particular that I met when she was 12 years old but looked 18. She seemed like all of the other girls there and kept herself clean and presentable at all times. She tried my patience at times, but they all did. What intrigued me about her was when they had been given a gift where a group of special guests that coined themselves to be their mentors came once a month specifically for the girls. They treated the girls to many things that the girls would not otherwise been privy to. One of those privileges was getting an entire make over. When it was this one particular girl's turn, she was taken to the beauty salon. Normally this girl, we will call, Alice would have her hair pulled back in a pony tail. And as African American females do when using a pony tail these days, we also use a hair product to keep all wispy hairs in place. I use to call it shellac until I started using it too. When the beauty operator took the ponytail unloose from Alice's hair, she found that not only did Alice have longer hair then any of us knew but she had also brushed over and shellacked it down so much that it was a tangled mess underneath. The beauty operator had a job on her hands. When she was finished Alice looked like a different person. I rarely saw her in a ponytail after that.

Later that month when looking over how Alice blossomed after that make over, my colleagues and I realized something about Alice. She rarely showed her feet. Even when all of the girls were relaxed and looking at T.V. Alice always had shoes or many layers of socks on. I recall one of the other girls made mention of how Alice borrowed clothes from all of the other girls. It wasn't a big deal only that she borrowed shoes as well. Still I wasn't seeing the problem. But the other resident said that Alice borrowed her shoes. The resident was barely 5 feet tall. Alice towered at 5' 7". There was no way Alice could fit those shoes, yet for the last 3 days, it is what she did. She didn't walk as if her feet were hurting her. My supervisor called Alice into the office and asked for her to remove her shoes, then the many layers of socks. Alice's feet looked as if they had been bound for years. She had bunions like an elderly woman who had been wearing high heels for the majority of her life.

In all of that time while my colleagues and I were treating Alice for her to be a successful adult, none of us realized that the treatment was deeper then that. Alice couldn't see what was so wrong and why we were all astonished that she would abuse herself in this way. If we saw any signs of self mutilation, the child would have to be removed from the program and placed elsewhere to get a different sort of treatment. When we found this out about Alice she was well into her 16th year and soon to be discharged and mainstreamed. She has become a part of society where someone will meet her and think she is the perfect person to have a relationship with.

I bring this up because Alice was one that got out from under the radar with 12 accomplished and experienced Youth Specialists watching her daily. How many other homes with at risk teens that were discharged seeming to be as normal as anyone else? There were girls that argued for no reason, lied on a regular basis because drama was apart of her life style. There were those that stole cars to make extra money and those that sold themselves for the same reason. There were those that justified causing themselves harm stating that it was a means of escape and those that escaped the cottage because a safe haven was too strange for them to get use to. There was even a girl that seemed so talented to do whatever she desired to do but could not sit still long enough to learn how to develop her natural skills. And as you read this, you might think, well everyone has problems or that sounds like what most people are like these days...and it very well might be. Isn't that a shame?

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