Saturday, April 10, 2010

Black & Blue

Ok, here I am. In a "blogging" place in my life. Why? Who knows, but I'm writing so that's always a good thing. Whatever. So, I got up about an hour ago. I sit in the living room with the dogs, and put on the news. WHAT?! Who is this girl? If you know me-- you know I have no pleasant feeling about the news; or watching it. I'm still half asleep. I don't recall much of what I saw and it was nearly an hour ago. Except one thing caught me, dragged me off my sofa, into the bed to write this. To vent, I suppose. And so what? It's MY party&I can cry if I want to.

So, the part that I DO remember went something like this. The mayor was talking about not cutting NYPD officers. Due to the need to "Keep the streets safe." I laughed a little when he said that. And that's what lead me in here. Take stock folks. If you KNOW me, you know what I do. You know not only what lead me to do it, and at what sacrifice. You also know how I feel about this part of my life. A sometimes totally exhausting "difficult" business to be in. Loved nonetheless for all it inspires in my soul. I am a lowly child care worker. Paid a wage I hadn't seen since I was in my early twenties. To care for, and help raise 6 teen mothers and their children. Nearly everyday I work in a home setting. Meant to teach these young ladies life skills. Except life skills aren't just cooking or cleaning, or bathing a child. I'm there to teach them to breathe. To walk the ground of wherever they are with peace, and trust and comfort in themselves and their abilities. So, mayor Bloomberg wants safe streets.....I PROMISE all of this ties together.

These kids, they sometimes (well that's more like almost all the time) want to NOT be restricted by any rules or regulation. When it's what they need- they still don't want it. So sometimes, the Police are called. If you work in my field, you know why. You also know there are rules about confidentiality so disclosing what goes on is not allowed. BUT- I CAN talk about the police. There are occassions where we see police contact almost weekly. If not, almost always bi-weekly. It's somewhat routine. There are other areas of this system that see police contact daily. So the local officers know it's a group housing facility and take their time to get to us, or never show up at all. Ummm, Hi can we maybe just stop by to see what's going on? Just to "keep the streets safe"? Anyway, most of these kids come from somewhere where the police are a bunch of hacks. Useless and a nuisance in every aspect. And my job is to breed trust in them, that the police are there to help them. That they can be secure in speaking with them and feel comfortable when they need assistance that some will be readily available to them.

Those who do respond when called, in my experience at least. Not all of them, just some. Didn't seem to care one way or another. Who cares? They do it all the time and come back. Why bother calling and making a report when you know these kids will come back? Hmmmmm- this seems like a no brainer to me. Yet, I've tried to convince my own handful (which is a decent size) of NYPD officers what it's like to have the capacity to love these children for who they are. Not what was placed on them against their will to put them in a place like this. Not because I'm paid to. (pittance folks) Because something exists in these children. Since in essence they are still just children. There's still a way to reach into them and minimize all the ills they've endured in the past to maximize who they really aspire to be. Sometimes, I think this is the craziest concept EVER! Since there's generally a lot of resistance to having this accomplished. My friends always tell me I can't save the world. But dammit I stay trying!

So officers who come with a "job to do" in dealing with the residents of the community. I know what it's like to do a monotonous job. To sit behind a desk and not pay any attention to what's going on inside that headset. This is different though, it's not just a voice on the other end. There's a person standing in front of you. Telling not of a lost bottle of pills somewhere in the bottom of Grandmas purse, or even a routine traffic stop. Of children. Plural- a child and her child. Out. Anywhere. Without a skill to know what to do when crisis comes. Believe it. They jump on dining tables at the sight of a mouse, and have cried when faced with a slug or beetle. Mssssssssssssssssssssss. Giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, seriously! When met with the instance to protect themselves they are mostly more scared then anything.

To the cops these kids are trouble. Just breaking the rules (which in all cases has been proven true) but they never look past that to the fact that there's a chance something could indeed be wrong. A hardened general disinterest for life has always puzzled me. I know it's a job. I know you're not supposed to care about everything you do. But how come I do? And how come so many other people just plain don't. I had a friend tell me he believed I told myself I was fulfilled by what I get from these kids, well Yeah! Why wouldn't I. It's noteable to me. That they give trust and faith and confidence to me. They're giving. Of themselves. So why wouldn't I want to tell myself that's what I get, since it IS?

Granted, these officers are met with a big job. And being able to connect with everyone they meet in a day is a draining process. But genuine concern when expressed should be returned. As a courtesy not just to myself but the young ladies in question. And their children. Though not blood of these men (rarely do women respond to these calls, and when they do they express the same concern) or even interconnected on a small level. Outside of each being human. I'm just saying.

So, maybe the mayor shouldn't cut police. But train them. To realize there is far more behind congregate care then children who are "bad" or "trouble". To increase education on how to better deal with individuals that are not just a number in their run book. To empathize and meet better the needs of community be being compassionate and serving. Like I'm sure they're expected to be. Maybe I'm nuts. To think people who are employed to maintain peace, should come peacefully.

I guess I won't be watching the news again any time soon. Since it gets me all fired up. Besides, I can't sit around and watch TV all day. I have to go to work ;)

1 comment:

  1. Gina,
    Everything that you do matters. Every decision you make, every action that you take has an impact in this world . . . even if you never see it. Every word has weight . . . that is why it is so important that we weigh them before we let them out of our mouths. The day you stop caring and being passionate about what you do, is the day you should quit. These girls and their kids need someone to love and guide them and what you do is noble work. You make an impact whether you ever see the results or not. Press on, my friend. We love you!