By Mia Hudson; Clinical Director, Johnson County Children’s Advocacy Center
Many people ask “How do I do my job?” This question always stuns me on how to explain why or how I do my job in a manner that is quick, easy, and a socially acceptable response. For those who do not know what my job is, well I am a therapist for children who have been sexually abused, physically abused, witnessed abuse, and/or neglected. My co-worker likes to call this “a buzz kill” when meeting new people in socially gatherings, where everyone asks “So, what do you do?”. Often after telling someone what my employment is (if I give the whole truth), the response is “Oh how sad”, “Doesn’t that make you feel depressed all the time?”, and (you guessed it) “How do you do it?”.
Sometimes my response is well the kids are still kids. Majority of the children I work with are so resilient to what has happened. Meaning, the children are about to bounce back from problems, which allows them to still be filled with joy, love, giggly, and playful. This does not mean that a child does not need therapy just because majority of their day is consistent of normal, childlike behaviors; because a child may still be haunted by their memories, have problematic behaviors, fearful, hurt, etc. Therefore, when working with children in therapy who are still so loving and joyful (which all are, even the ones that have difficult behaviors) provides a sense of hope. Hope that the child can overcome what life has thrown at them, something a child should never had to experience or endure. A hope that their abuse will just be a memory and does not define of who they are or who they will be come. This sense of hope is the reason why I choose this career path in the first place. Children from all backgrounds sometimes need a little help due to any type of experience. That little help can change the course of their life because children are so capable for change due to their resiliency, adaptability, love, and ability to learn. And, I want to be that help for them.
Other times, my response is “well someone has to”. If not me, who else is going to do. I feel as though how can I not do this job. Who else is going to help these children heal, show them there is a hope for a better future, advocate for them, and ultimately show them the love of Christ. The love of Christ is creating a therapeutic environment that is non-judgmental, encouragement (not enablement), providing the opportunity for them to learn how to solve their own problems, to feel safe, actually allowing them to have the freedom to speak or to not speak, having someone to listen to them, and having fun while doing it. This is not to present my job as easy by all means. My purpose to bless others of what God has blessed me throughout my life as a child and as an adult.
This is not to say that I am the only one in the world who are helping others and/or to boast who I am or to imply that my job has more meaning than yours. In fact, it is way more than just me. It is also the lovely board members who work constantly for fundraising, volunteering, administrating, and the long hours put in on planning. It is my co-workers who, as we work as team, each having a different role and without one of us we would all fall apart as an agency and we would not benefit anyone. It is the multidisciplinary team with CPS, law enforcement, District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile services, and medical care team. Without each of these departments working together, we would not be able to intervene to develop a safe living environment and seek justice for our families. It is to those who constantly donate their time and money to enable us to provide our families food, clothing, furniture, toys, hygiene products, and our services all for free. It is the protective parents who bring their child to the center for help and healing. On a larger scale, it is the educators who train each department to equip us to do our job. It is the policy makers who create the laws to protect children. It is the construction workers creating the space we work in. It is to the people who build/ sale cars, which allows us and others to get to our place of employment. It is the gas stations, grocery stores, clothing stores, etc. that provide us and our families the essential needs. For me, it is my church, who disciple me and educate me in the word of God and the love of Christ. It is all for the Glory of God. He provides me the strength, encouragement, wisdom, patience, love, passion, and rest to complete each day and start over the next day. It is His will and doing that I am where I am today and how I can do my job. It is His will and doing for what you do! Whether it may not feel as involved or impacting, it completely is no matter where you are employed because without you and what you do, somehow, somewhere in the system it would be missing and incomplete thus, impacting another function in the system. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “The eye