03 May 2006

Waxing homiletic...

I've pimped for H&K...lots (can't say enough good stuff about 'em), MRI, Georgia Arms...

...and there's always Evan and his filmwork on "Indoctrinate U."

Now allow me to pimp another project...one that I haven't read yet, but is very pertinent to the sort of work I tend to find myself in every now and then.

It's a book by a woman who has suffered abuse, and has lived to tell the tale, and extend some hope to others, if only by her example of still standing and still going.

What caught my attention about her project was some of the research she had done. The book is supposed to incorporate some stories about others who, as children, suffered abuse, and survived.

Having worked with those types of kids before, I told her if she ever needed input from a former counselor, there's myself and the people I used to work with for her to get in touch with.

But, it got me thinking about one particular story of a group of kids I worked with in a high management group home out in Western North Carolina, and some of what it takes to overcome, namely, the spiritual dimension.

Most have never heard me preach, and it's been a while since I've published anything online pertaining to my faith and outlook on humanity because of it (part of which justifies my beliefs on carrying hardware for self-defense). So, here goes.

As a Christian, I believe humanity is corrupt. And you don't need a Th.D or a D. Min to see it. In fact, you don't have to be well-read in the Bible at all to find evidence. You can see it in your own kids. Did you ever have to teach them to lie, or be selfish? Nope, it comes quite naturally.

The training we're supposed to give them as parents and teachers, at best, holds this nature back from fully expressing itself (murder, robbery, rape, etc.). But it only reins it in, it doesn't do a whole lot to change it. Because we, for all the psychological research we have done, cannot really change a soul.

Like the guys over at AA and NA and all the other Anonymous groups say, you need help from above yourself. And I saw this very principle in action among the eight or ten kids I worked with.

All these kids had pretty significant emotional problems, taking them all the way toward violent and aggressive behavior (which tends to be the case with kids who have been sexually abused by some bastard--like a parent or relative--who was supposed to take care of them). Because of their special needs among people with special needs, the high management group home I worked in was set up.

To make what could be a long story short, I saw a pattern happen with kids who came in and out of the system. At first, when they were brought in, they were fairly well-behaved--it's a new environment, unfamiliar people and social conventions, and so they are guarded. Then, after a while, they start pushing limits. But after a time, once they see that a system is in place for structure and order in the home, and that the staff will enforce that order, they start getting compliant.

At this point, it can seem that they are making progress towards their treatment plans, but once they get word that they are out of there, usually the old behaviors come back that got them to the group home in the first place. And so, other measures get implemented.

Not always successfully. I left for grad school in the early '90s. When I came back to the area after getting my MA, I visited my former supervisors at the home. Of course, all but one of the kids had passed through and gone to other things (not necessarily better things).

This guy? He's in jail. That guy? Haven't heard anything about him. This other guy? Institutionalized. That girl? After the system dropped her, she got pregnant and is living off welfare.

What about yet this other guy? Him? He's doing marvelously. God got a hold of his life.

Knowing nod right there. Uh-huh. I wonder how many of the psychologists over at the Smoky Mountain Center took note of that. Most being ex-hippies, they probably gave it little more than a nod--"oh, he found something that worked for him" and continue to encourage the kids to "listen to their energies" (well, what if those energies are totally screwed up? And how would those screwed-up energies ever be able to distinguish between what is screwed up and what is not?).

Bottom line: God made you, He knows how to fix you. However screwed up you were.

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