Most people know that I am a columnist for a local newspaper and an author. But I should say that I am probably best known for the work that I have done for teens. Teenagers and children are my first love. If you asked me how I got so involved with teens, I couldn't really answer that question. I believe it started for me right after college. I guess I felled right into it. Plus teenagers draw to me.
When my daughter was around 4 or 5 I would sit outside with about 10 little kids playing childhood games like Ms. Mary Mack, and other games. I would have the kids make circles and each would take turns singing songs and playing hand games. When I would get tired, which was always before the kids, I would go into the house and bring out fresh baked brownies, cookies, or sliced pickles. I smile when I think of how many days the little kids would return to the door and ask for the Brownie Lady. That's funny! I was a very young, proud mother and I wanted my child to have the presence of her mother and father in her life and if that meant I had to play outside and sit in a circle on the hot concrete driveway, I did.
So to make a long story short, I grew into working with teen moms and their boyfriends. But with a host of nieces and nephews I learned to communicate with kids of all ages. Thus it wasn't unusual for them to confied in me. They told me about their pain, their happiness, their toys, family life and other interesting things. I even had parents call me to try to get me to spy. Some mothers would even call me to ask me to convince a 15 year old daughter not to have sex. I did and that young lady has a college degree plus her masters. She waited until she was in college and even had the nerves to call me and tell me that she was ready to do it, as she said. I simply phoned her mother and she called the father who had been on standby for years waiting to take her to the doctor for birth control pills. It was because the mother said I just can't stand to see a boy humping on my daughter...oh what stories I could tell.
There are too many stories of pain, of hunger or disappointment. All I have ever done was provide a listening ear and referrals to mothers to take their child to get help. But what bugged me the most was finding a child who was too depressed but didn't want to receive help because in their opinions, “seeing a therapist was for crazy people.” (I'll post part two in couple of days-don't want the post to be too long)
Have you volunteered to help teens improve their lives?