Monday, September 17, 2012

Going After the One

Just to keep you all updated - Sammy and I still live at Casa Hogar Douglas full-time and are the caregivers for a boys' dorm there 24 hours a day.

The boys are transitioning and processing through their previous caregivers' departure and what Sammy and I expect from them throughout the day.  Oddly, our biggest battles with the boys most days revolve around whether or not they will eat breakfast, lunch or dinner and not whether or not they'll go to school or do take a shower at night.  They want to stay up until midnight and we want them in bed by 9 pm.  They want to go to school wearing whatever we want and insist that they wear their school uniform.  They want to eat candy and I want them to brush their teeth.  They want to play video games and I want them to read a book to me for 15 minutes.  They think it's totally normal to leave their backpack with all their school books AT school overnight instead of bringing it home so we can do their homework together.  They want to scream curse words at us and I want them to voice their emotions but respectfully.  Most of the boys are 10 and 11 years old and when they hear the response, "no" to something, they often throw full body trashing on the ground, attempting to break things or harm themselves tantrums for often 60 minutes at a time.

So to put it lightly, we are transitioning.  It will likely be months before they accept our schedule and our rules.  It'll be months before they trust me when I say, "maybe it'd be better if we did that in an hour instead of right now." It'll be months before they realize that I'm not going to hit them if I'm mad about something they just did.

One of our boys in particular has been winning the competition amongst the boys to be the worst behaved and most defiant in our dorm.  Sammy and I said, "enough is enough," and we called a meeting with every single adult that works at the orphanage to talk with him all at once.  To have this meeting, Sammy had to leave behind our dorm full of boys unsupervised and I had to leave behind another dorm that I was caring for that day so their full-time caregiver could have a day off.  In an orphanage setting - it's not a good idea to leave kids alone.  But we did it.  We left about 13 kids alone for an hour so we could stop everything and talk to just one child.

He needed to hear from more than just us, what the expectations are for him.  He needed to hear reinforced from others what is considered wildly disrespectful.  He cried.  He protested.  He said it wasn't fair.  But in the end, we were cool and there was now no way he could say, "well I don't have to listen to you because YOU are the only person who thinks I have to do my homework, speak respectfully and read for 15 minutes in order to go to soccer practice!!!!"  He knew that EVERY SINGLE adult in his life was in agreement - he for some reason was convinced that me and Sammy only wanted to punish him and that no one else would agree with our rules.

Since that meeting, he's been an angel.  He got it.  And honestly, modifying the behavior of just one kid might seem like a drop in the bucket but it's made all the difference in our dorm.  He's a leader and doesn't even know it yet.  He's incredibly handsome and I already worry about keeping girls away from him in the years to come yet he thinks he's ugly.  He's wildly intelligent and yet he gets rather solid B's at school.  And he is incredible at soccer.  I think he knows that last part already.  He scores goals on kids twice his size everyday.

Sometimes and probably more often than not, it's worth it to leave the 99 and go after the one.

Prayer requests for our dorm and for Sammy and me -
*  patience for their outbursts
*  appropriate words and wisdom when they share with us abuse from their past
*  for the boys to not just sleep but truly rest at night
*  for their first year teacher at school to not treat them differently just because they are "orphanage kids."
*  for the boys to grow to trust us a little more each day
*  for the self confidence - to know and believe in themselves and their abilities

No comments: