Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Magic Words

This past summer when I lived at Casa Hogar Douglas and was in charge of the 14 youngest boys there - bedtime was pretty much my daily nightmare. At that point in the day, I had been up trying to maintain my sanity and the safety of 14 boys for about 14 hours. I didn't speak enough spanish and I didn't have control. I was not at all intimidating to the boys. Thus, Betty - another B2B staff member who happens to be Mexican and fluent in spanish would usually arrive right at bedtime and tell my boys to get in bed and go to sleep. She was always so good at it and I was always incredibly thankful for her help because sometimes I would try to fall asleep on the floor right along with the boys from my own exhaustion.

These days things are different. They split up some of my boys and sent the 4 oldest upstairs to another dorm which only left 10 downstairs in the youngest dorm. There is a HUGE difference between 14 and 10. I don't live there all the time anymore. Now I come on Mondays to cover for the workers of the medium boys - ages 8 to 12. And on Tuesdays I cover for the workers in the youngest boys dorm - ages 3 to 8 - so that those workers can take a day off. This past summer - I had a lot of help in this - some incredible interns were right alongside me - laughing at the silly things the boys would do and crying right along with me when we had lost control and couldn't take it anymore.

But now I fly solo. If you had told me this summer that one day I would take care of all those boys by myself for 12 to 15 solid hours - I would have told you, "not in a million years." I've been reminded every single week since then that God doesn't call the equipped. God equips the called. And that is exactly what He has done. He is transforming me every week into someone who: speaks Spanish, has patience, loves children, multitasks professionally, disciplines, establishes boundaries, and can put 10 little boys to sleep in spanish all by herself. THAT'S NUTS!! But God is doing it.

At bedtime, I now have some "magic words." I've started pulling them aside one at a time to put them to bed individually instead of all at once. They are pretty much never treated like individuals so I decided to give this a try. And it's working beautifully. I pick them up one at time from the couch and we read a story, brush our teeth, go to the potty, and then I pray over them individually and thank god for creating them and making them so perfect and beautiful and intelligent and we ask god to give them good dreams and then I pull out my magic words... I tell them the honest truth which is that I love them so much and that my favorite day of the week is the day that I get to take care of them and be with them all day. I hug them and kiss their little faces and you can see it in their eyes - they just melt when they hear that. But it's the truth. Their little hearts melt and they feel loved and wanted and they close their eyes and go to sleep literally smiling - without fighting me - without protesting - without trying to get out of bed. It's beautiful.

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