Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We can do better

Volunteered again tonight.

[Big sigh]

I have a feeling that this place is going to be a source of endless frustration for me. I have all these opinions on how they could be doing things better. But who am I? I don't have children. I don't have a degree in anything child-related. I've never had a job involving children - unless you count babysitting in my teen years.

But I just can't help myself. I wonder WHY are they doing this? Why are they NOT doing that? And this is my blog so I am allowed to say whatever I want, right?

After snack time. I counted. There were 11 kids, 8 staff people and me. Holy Almost-a-one-to-one-ratio, Batman! What a great opportunity to give the kids some focused attention. Let's each grab one or two kids, sit with them, read to them, talk with them, color with them. They have plenty of group activities all day. Let's create just a little block of time in their day where they get the full attention one caring adult.


Let's sit them in front of a movie.


Just like last night.

And the night before.

And let's have the move be Mulan. And let's have the last scene that we show be the one where Mulan is being abandoned by her army buddies because they found out she was a girl. (A moment earlier they were going to kill her, but decided not to.) Let's watch all the people she cares about walking away and leaving her on a snowy mountaintop all by herself. Then let's shut off the TV. Sweet dreams kiddies!

Yes, it is a cartoon. And most of the kids are too young to fully comprehend the story. But I'll bet you they know scary when they see it. And sad - they certainly know what crying looks like.

So why?! Why even have movies that contain ANYTHING scary, slightly violent or with scenes of abandonment or sadness or bad things happening to vulnerable people? These kids have experienced loss in their lives. Some have witnessed or been victims of real violence. They've just been pulled from their homes and sent to to live with a bunch of strangers. They have no control over anything and they have no idea what is going to happen next. Their REAL lives are scary and sad.

Why can't this place be a true shelter from the storm - full of gentleness, safety and peace. A place where we deliberately filter out unnecessary images of violence and scariness. Where we wouldn't THINK of showing a movie that has any frightening content, even if it is a well known Disney cartoon. Where the only movies we show have fluffy bunnies singing the alphabet or a family of bears who take a vacation on a boat and have fun and SAFE adventures.

You cannot protect any child from every single scary or sad thing they might encounter in this world. And you shouldn't necessarily put them in a protective bubble so tight that they don't develop any resilience or learn how to cope with difficult situations.

But why don't we put a little more thought into the things that we CAN control with THESE children while they are temporarily in our care. These children are special. They need extra comfort, a little more nurturing of their fragile spirits, and lots and lots of gentleness and safety in their surroundings. We can and should do better.

It doesn't take a freaking genius to figure that out.

Even though it frustrates and upsets me, I still feel like I need to keep going back. Especially when it frustrates and upsets me, I feel like I need to keep going back.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Creepy crawly in my yard last night

Doesn't this look like the face of a monkey wearing a hat (and giving us the finger?)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


At work.
I get an email from a coworker requesting that I write a letter for him and send some materials to a prospective customer.

My first thought:
I am not your monkey.
Write your own stinking letter.

There is no reason he can't write his own letter. None at all. He has a good grasp of the English language and knows how to use a computer. Have to nip this one in the bud or I'll be doing all sorts of stupid crap for him.

So my diplomatic reply is:
Why don't you write the letter and I'll gather up the materials to send?

Can't you just feel the cheerfulness oozing out of that sentence?

He wrote his own letter.

There's a customer on the phone. One of our designs shows just a portion of a table with a cloth over it.  It is really just the edge of the table. There are dark and light shadows underneath the tiny part of table that does show. She wants to know what is under the table. She really needs to know.

My first thought:
Are you out of your mind?
Do you really have that much time on your hands that you can worry yourself about things like that?
Holy crap, lady - SNAP OUT OF IT!

My diplomatic response:
I have no idea what is under the table. We can erase that part out of the picture, if you would like us to.

I seem nice on the outside, but evidently my uncensored thoughts are not so nice. Like a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Looks good on the outside and at first it seems sweet. But when you get to the center, it's all dark and bitter.