Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are we really making a difference?!

I have started a new job at a non profit and feel so blessed to be moving up in my career. It only took me a month to find a great job with a great company, with a great mission! I am back to working with kids ages 6 -17 years on a daily basis through after school programming, teaching life skills classes at the alternative school and teen events on the weekends to offer a positive place and activities. Although this job is quite possibly my most challenging job yet, I am in awe as to how much influence we have on these children's lives in only spending three hours a day with them. Most of our programming is grant funded and the rest is paid out of afterschool program fees. What I am floored by, is our thoughtfulness in planning and tailoring our program for each kid regardless of what they have going in their life. We make an effort to work with the children that are struggling in other parts of their lives; whether at home, school or elsewhere.

 I stumbled upon another amazing blogger through a friend. She is also an adoptive mother of eight! That deserves some recognition! On her main blog page she has a quote by an anonymous author:
"Sometimes I want to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but then again, I am afraid He might ask me the same question."

So this quote has lead me to some contemplating tonight. I am so glad to be back in the realm of working with children. I have been working with teens and young adults facing unplanned pregnancies. I still and always will have a huge heart for this and adoption but my new opportunity has given me the chance to once again work with the younger ages too.I am working with children from so many walks of life, many of whom have already faced tragedy, trials and tribulations. With all we have going on in our lives, and boy do I get it (sometimes I leave my house at 6:45 am and do not get home until 8:30 pm), what do we have left for others? I know as mothers, employees, daughters, sisters, etc. that we have so many people and responsibilities, and there are only so many hours in the day! But, what are we really doing? What are we really giving back? I used to volunteer for a mentoring program, similar to Big Brother's Big Sister's with two children whose mother was incarcerated. I made every effort to be at church and help in Sunday School; I collected items and even rescued many animals for foster care and placed them in forever homes. I did this not because my arm was twisted into it. I did this because I wanted to. It seems though that once I became a mother, moved out of state away from friends, family and my favorite volunteer activities, that I simply have not had the energy to become invested in my community again. As a military wife, it is so difficult finding a good balance. Additionally, sometimes (although most won't admit it) we hold back as military wives and do not give our "all" to life, community, friends, others. Partly, because we have lack of support systems in place but  also I have found a real reluctance to invest myself, my energy, my time. I think this is because I am afraid. I am afraid to move again when I have invested so very much energy into something I have fallen in love with. What I realized this week, tonight even more so, is that I LOVE what I do! I love my work, my new friends, and I am beginning to love and accept my new life. What I do not love is my reluctance thus far to really invest in my community. I have thrown everything into my new job, my new daughter, my new life without really thinking what my new community needs. What can I do, that I am not doing? Where can I help or do more? Why have I not found a church, found a group to attend and volunteer with? After reading this lady's blog tonight and thinking about what it means to really "give back", I realized that it was a real fear. A fear of putting everything I have into something to get nothing back and leaving before I ever see the results! This fear is not only selfish but ridiculous. We have a duty as Christians,  or even as good, moral, ethical people to always be striving to do more. This does not mean you give so much of yourself that you burn out, this just means thinking outside of the box and finding your niche. This means finding what you are good at, what you have to offer and going with it. I am so happy to once again be working with children. While adoption will and always will be one of my many passions, working with kids everyday is where I need to be. Where do you need to be? What do you have to offer that you are not offering?

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