Beendet The Children's Oasis, a gentle space for children in need
St Catherine, Jamaika
I often reflect on our children in Care, particularly children whose only crime was to be born to someone who for whatever reason, couldn't cope, couldn't protect or couldn't respond to their needs.
It makes me reflect on the children here and why I started....... and would I do it again....... a resounding yes....
Don't get me wrong, it's not easy, there are times when I want to give up because of behaviour, attitude, all kinds of things and I have to say, the lack of what I consider to be appropriate backup from government agencies responsible. But I draw on my experience in bringing up my own children, my work with young people and I pray hard for the patience, words and actions to deal effectively and appropriately with the challenges (with 7 of them 7-17yrs so there is always a challenge........)........ just as I did with my own.
Too many of their experiences prior to coming to me, were not good or very happy, though they do have good and fond memories of home and family, they have come to understand they need to be where they are now and still keep contact with family. I have come to understand that some pain or hurt of their past will always emerge in their future, and they will act out, they will react and I understand they are reaching out. I understand they have all kinds of issues and patiently wait out the episode, loving the child, but letting them know, and then discussing the issue which is causing the problem. Just as I did with my own......... I have learned that the same unconditional love you give your 'own' child, works for any child.....
I do what I do because I love to see children progress, to be happy, to laugh, to be able to be the very best at whatever they choose to be............. and a loving, stable, nurturing environment will do it every time.
Last night as I watched the children sitting round the table munching toast and drinking chocolate for supper, I was listening to their giggles as they discuss "the old days", or as one refers to it "once upon a time". Mixed memories. But all ending in a giggle. I gave a prayer of thanks for the privilege of sharing these 7 gifts and prayed for grace enough to nurture them to unconditionally loving adults, breaking the negative cycle of their past.
When you hear the laughter from a child who barely smiled, feel the hug of a child who feared being touched or see a child's face light up with joy or pride, you know you have touched a heart.... And as my dad used to say "people will always remember how you made them feel, even if they never remember your name".
Ps the "once upon a time" one says, they say that because it was, "once upon a time" and they don't live that way anymore..... they are safe now.....