i had a particular post in mind but something else has come up and it is more- pressing.
as many of you know, at one time, i worked in human services. now, that's just a fancy way of saying i worked with people in need for shit wages. sounds better though- more noble. what i found was, many folks who worked with me- and me included- would 'take our work home' with us after shift- especially since i worked in a residential facility for teens. it was a group home and all of us well meaning lefties wanted to make up for the fact that these girls had a shit life at home. we cooked and cleaned and slaved and listened and hugged- but you know what? it wasn't good enough. know why? it wasn't what the girls wanted.
sure, it's nice having someone to listen to you and to empathize with you- but what you really want is to go home- dysfunction and all. well, let's just say residential is for the young, idealistic folks because the burnout rate is high. why? stress? sure. these girls weren't violent but hey, there were moments of crisis. what really burned these folks out- taking on the girl's issues.
in the spirit of helpfullness that plagues the left, my colleagues 'owned' the girls issues and responsibility to work on her part in the dysfunction. you can't change anyone else but yourself- but these kind folks were trying to figure out ways that the young lady could overcome. why? it is in our nature to want everyone to 'be happy.' not a reality- but when it comes to young people- we especially want them to be happy. i think it's the 'norman rockwell syndrome' that america has- especially amongst the helpers of this world.
anyhoo- i would try to talk to my staff about this very thing- let the girl own it not you. she is the one who has to live HER life not you. you have your own life. helping people does not involve you taking on their problems. joe shmow is an addict- well, you can't do a damned thing about it. he has to. actions in life have consequences- good and bad- was my mantra. now, i don't know how much the staff listened- but the girls got it (along with wearing white cotton crotch underpants- but that's a different story). how many went on to be successful- i will never know. but--they are living the life that is theirs- not mine. who am i to measure their success? all i could do for one moment in their life- was support them and help them when they let me. i have been away from the human services business for 2 years or so now and i have a clear conscience and a clear mind. i don't worry about the girls because i know i did the best i could- and while they were in my care- so did they. raise the bar of expectations because folks will rise to meet it. set aside arrogance that you are the only one on the planet who can help these folks- and offer them the tools to do it on their own. pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is part of the american dream, no?