Sunday, October 19, 2008
The Gift of Trust, Love, and Hope
I had the privilege of working with a young man who had experienced much turmoil in his life. From early on, we connected, and over time this bond became stronger. Family sessions were often difficult and challenging, but one on one he would share with me his pain, his dark secrets, his sorrows. He had been abandoned by his father, sexually abused by a peer at age 7, witness to a suicide attempt of his mother, and having a conflictual relationship with his step-father. He had little love in his life to the point where he had no love for himself either. He began to loathe himself and be filled with rage. I sought to be loving but firm, and to steer him towards finding meaning and of resolving conflicts in his life. We had a strong relationship, we could joke together but also share more serious reflections. However, I knew that because he had been so hurt and broken, that he was not fully trusting anyone and he was constantly being sucked into the vortex of negative peer associations and familial dysfunction. I'm spite of this, he progressed, even to the point discharge was discussed by the psychologist. But then came the series of unfortunate events. I noticed him struggling again and isolating. He then had an incident where he was caught unclothed with his younger sibling. I suspected he had been abused again by a peer, but he was not able to develop the courage to relate this until much later. He persisted in some negative actions at school, using domination of others as a way to regain control and his feelings of worth. There was another incident of sexual acting out and this brought charges. I hjad predicted sadly that if better choices were not made that legal ramifications would come and there would be a day where all decisions would be out of his hands, out of his parents, and out of mine. The State became involved. Not understanding my connection to the young man, and wanting everything sterile and clinical, as well as having political machinations, they chastised me for being real and genuine and actually treating this young man as a human being. They had their agenda and decided to proceed. It was not that I did not understand that he needed additional support and help, it was that I was concerned if he felt alone and had no spiritual connection, he would only become more hardened and fall into despair. The young man pleaded with me not to abandon him, and I said I would not. He told me that he wished he would have followed what I said, but he could never trust anyone, but now he knows that I truly cared about him, but he felt it was too late. I had given him a word that means 'I see the love, truth, and divine in you.' He said this word to me as he remembered it. When I exained it meaning, he wept. Now I am left to only hope for the best in an absurd situation, to hope for the best in a system not knowing compassion, not knowing persons, so filled with ego. His mother's words were very meaningful to me in that she said- 'you did not fail, you gave him more than anyone ever did- you gave him trust, hope, and love.' This I did and would do again and again even though the pain has been great. And if any dare say that what I gifted this child with was 'unprofessional', then I must question their heart. It is indeed a great misfortune that those who claim to be in the field of protecting children are so beguiled by greed and corruption, that they lose sight of how to truly reach our children, even the most troubled ones, and deal with them in compassionate, rehabilitative means.
-Dan L. Edmunds,Ed.D.
-Dan L. Edmunds,Ed.D.