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Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog: Back to Basics

Marty's "Living life in chapters" A self development blog

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back to Basics

This blog is based on my experience of work last night and ties in really well with Mitch R's blog too.. as put up on my blast. As many of you know, I've gone through quite a bit of heartache regarding work just recently. Last night I went into work little later at 10pm having took some time to attend a meeting about the Alpha course Click here coming up for church next Saturday.
Just as I was getting out of my car at work, one of the lads called out to me from his window on the first floor and asked me if I would go up to chat with him. This particular lad very nearly got excluded in the last week for serious damage caused in the project. After a quick "settle in" I popped up to him 5 mins later and we chatted for about an hour. Its been a long while since I have listened, now I mean really listened to one of our lads without other stuff going on and other agenda's. I felt much like I did when I first started this job nearly 3 years ago.

This was back to basics.
This eposide last night had me realize how all of us at work have been so tied up with house rules, policies and procedure, report writing, house keeping (sweep the yard, do the filing, do the washing up, check the rooms, maintain the files) etc etc that we have all lost touch with the real people we have bening trying to help. The disruptive behavior generates all sorts of distracting feelings for us too. These feelings... frustration, sadness, anger, irritation, etc. have GOT IN THE way of basic humane care. Trying to teach these vulnerable lads to be respectful whilst having to manage the fallout when neighbours make complaints and in some cases parents of the lads "dis" what we are trying to do and likley project their own inability to manage their children onto us, just add to the mis direction of true focus and vision. In the end, it has become a vicious circle. Trust goes out the window. As staff, we skulk around the building trying to catch the guys out because we are frustrated that we cannot prove who smashed a window or ripped a carpet or tampered with fire equipment.
This experience has brought the blind spots I have to my consciousness. Last night, I was able to listen and care in the way I used to because although I'm tired out and emotionally bruised I HAD PEACE IN MY HEART. I was able to put aside (and I mean really put aside) everthing else that is going on, not just think I was doing this.
A good friend of mine suggested "taking God for a walk" perhaps down the beach and talking to him about this. Again, this is a communication issue. The chance to offload the busy life around me. A chance to perhaps refill that "bottle of cope" that I mentioned in a previous blog. Ahhhhhh, thats right! THATS how you refill it!

I got a short scribble for you penned last night.

My Son Craig and his “oops” moment

It was Christmas time and we were preparing to buy presents. This particular year, we decided the older too could make up their own minds on what to buy. I think Dawn was about 10 and Craig aged 9. I put by some extra cash for them to buy presents. I took Dawn and Craig down to the shops in my village. We all looked round for something for Mum. After that purchase, both Dawn and Craig wanted to get my present. I’d already looked in the shop we were going into (a small shop similar to a Boots chemist selling a variety of stuff). At that time I used to chat online with Lycos chat under the pseudonym “Potatoehead”. (People would always tell me I spelt it wrong, but that was deliberate because someone else had already taken the name under the other spelling). The kids knew about my “Potatoehead” AKA online so when I saw a bottle of bubble bath in the shop in the shape of the toy Character “Mr Potatohead”, I guessed this may attract them.

Both the kids insisted I wait outside the shop whist they went in and chose presents for Mummy and Daddy. After a little while, both emerged with presented securely hidden inside plastic bags. “Did you get everything you wanted?” I asked. To which Craig replied. “Well we got the Mr Pota…….” Mortified, Craig put his hand to his mouth in the realisation he had given the game away. I, of course fell about laughing at his mishap.


(10 total)

Every words you said is true Marty! We get drawn out and beat down as adults.. and then when working with troubled youth we wonder why they stop communicating.. well we stop! So wrappped up in all our troubles we forget the reason we are there at times. We have to step back and take frequent mental health breaks, I call them, and regain our own composure in order to assist them with theirs.. Just as we react off our enviroments and stress factors so do they.. they sense it.. our feelings of frustrations, they in turn become frustrated becuase they then internalize it thinking it is about them because we have become short, snappy and half there for them... Such an honest and eye opening post Marty! Thanks!

Friday 22 September 2006 - 09:42AM (CDT)

Hei Marty.

Yep, back to basics tis right. Once in a while one is brought to that very point where that is only thing to do.
Liked the Oops a lot as well. Keep well, safe n sound. =)
Great weekend to you & the yours, too.

Friday 22 September 2006 - 04:56PM (CEST)

Hi Marty. That was really cool how you felt you could really listen. Its incredible how when we connect with God in one aspect of your life it touches others. How amazing! :)

Friday 22 September 2006 - 04:59PM (BST)

Marty, thanks again for putting my blog on your blast. The response was wonderful. I will contact every one in due course (there need to be more hours in the day!!!). I am in complete agreement about what you said about losing sight of what is important.So much of our time is taken up with red-tape and unproductive systems. My work has the same kinds of problems. Sometimes amidst all the governmental red-tape and political correctness, we forget that at the other end of our phones are people who need their benefits, they have no job, no money, they need OUR help. Sometimes it is good to take a step back and look at what is really important. In my job as a mentor, I often have to remind staff that the voice at the other end of the phone is a REAL person, with real needs and they expect to be treated with respect and understanding.
On a lighter note, loved the 'oops' incident. Kids are great for those little moments.
I was at the Docklands concert too!! Small world. Was it worth a day-long soaking in the rain?? You bet it was!! That guy KNOWS how to put on a concert!!!

Friday 22 September 2006 - 06:07PM (BST)

Hi Marty matey, liked your little story, poor little Craig lol. It sounds like you are beginning to get a little of your equilibrium back, perhaps due to the decisions you have recently made, you seem more at peace as your last couple of blogs have appeared.

Friday 22 September 2006 - 11:21PM (BST)

I'm glad you're able to get that old feeling back even if only for a bit. I personally think all file cabinets should be banned from the face of the earth. They suck the souls out of us all.

Friday 22 September 2006 - 08:41PM (CDT)

So true Marty. Marshall Rosenberg has a whole book on what he calls 'non violent communication' and the basic premise is that once people feel they are heard and understood, most reasons for conflict go away.

Those lads are lucky to have you around.

Loved the ooops stories. It's these little things that make time with the kids so precious.

Saturday 23 September 2006 - 05:14AM (EDT)

Don't you love it when you can find that excitement about work again? Stress seems to take that away from us, but once we are able to relax, the passion can usually come back. Children are so precious! I think it is them that keeps our spirits up and gives us the will to move forward!

Saturday 23 September 2006 - 01:42PM (EEST)

"taking God for a walk": I think that's a great idea! what a way to peace!!!

Saturday 23 September 2006 - 06:23PM (IST)

i really like the picture you used for this blog. I think in so many areas paperwork and rules etc have taken over and removed focus from the basics such as listening to someone; having spent a lot of time hospital visiting this summer I could really see how frustrating it was for many of the staff, you felt that they really wanted to be more caring, to make sure patients ate, or just felt looked after, but they simply didn't have time for that basic caring element of their job.

Saturday 23 September 2006 - 11:04PM (BST)


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