Chris Nobles here. I’ve recently moved on from the Child WelfareTraining Program Resource Center to a position as an RA (Resident Advisor) at a new Valley Youth House SIL (Supervised Independent Living) site in Delaware County. I’m sure you haven’t quite had time to miss me yet, but I wanted to keep you posted on a few things I’ve noticed since I’ve been out here. Another list, for the cause:
1. LIFE IS HARD! Seeing youth no more than five years behind me going through what still feels so fresh in my memory actually blows me away. I’ve told plenty of people that age 17-18 is likely as hard as I’ll work my entire life and… seeing it from the outside or at least from a mentoring perspective… it’s 100% true. Just to break even, to start up a relatively normal life, these youth really have to grind and keep out of any sort of trouble. It’s tough. Buy they’re up to the task.
2. LIFE IS HARD (2)! To manage this transition personally, I somehow had to manage to change places of employment, change residence, attempt to get a license, attempt to get a car, figure out how I was going to move my things from one residence to the next without having secured a license or car, get to know my new position, get to know my new supervisor, get to know the new area, help set up the house so that it was livable, introduce the program at a few speaking engagements, and THEN get to know the six residents. Wait, wasn’t life supposed to be easier after 17-18?
3. Motivate. A very wise person once said to me “Human beings are the last great untapped resource on the planet,” which is a quote I cite very often. Like most quotes though, it’s misquoted and I admit that. The second part of the comment was, “…so if you think oil companies manage to run the world, imagine what you could do if you could manage to move people the way they move barrels.” A bit obscure, but a good point. I’m beginning to learn that, often times, the greatest good can be done by influencing and motivating other people in positive ways. I couldn’t pay a system youth to take pride in themselves and want to achieve—-there is nothing I could give them, other than a positive example and encouragement, which could grant them the energy and drive to be more.
4. Some assembly required. As a one receiving services in the system for a long time, and working with professionals afterward, I always sort of got the impression that the pros had everything together and knew what they were doing. I bet some of the people I work with now get the same impression about me. I now find this hilarious—-every day, for different reasons, no matter what your circumstance, everyone winds up throwing themselves together enough to be presentable and just doing their best. This experience has shown me that youth in care are at a disadvantage not for the nature of their life issues (because everyone has them), but because of the form the issues take and lack of resources to aid in working through them.
5. Life is Transition. Yeah I’m saying it again. Because it is. The more different people I meet, different angles I get on life, the more I notice that it all looks pretty much the same in a very beautiful way. Everyone’s going somewhere. Seeing, and appreciating, and enjoying that change is key.