Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Safety for the Abused And The Walking Wounded Too...



Glenn Newberry is the executive director for Foster’s Home for Children in Stephenville, TX. Tonight I heard Glenn speak on the subject of safety. But it was not the kind of safety lecture that I have heard police officers deliver numerous times. In his presentation, he described a comprehensive program that Foster’s Home is using that focuses on emotional safety. Bear mind that Foster’s serves over 50 children in residential care that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned.


Glenn made a statement tonight that immediately caught my attention. He said: “Healing won’t occur until a child feels safe.” “Our goal is to build an environment of safety.” Of course there is a lot involved in fulfilling such an objective. I have worked enough with traumatized children over the years to know that they are on the right track.


As I listened this evening, my mind start bouncing like it always does. (Jan tells me the wires in my head are not connecting to the correct colors.) As I listened, my mind transitioned from abused children to adults that I interact with everyday.


All of my friends could be aptly described as the walking wounded. My peers are rapidly approaching age 50. Some of them are already there! We have all lived enough to be damaged in significant ways. We lived long enough to bury parents, experience heartache with our children, and in some cases go through the pain of divorce. The list could go and on…


I realized tonight that my friends won’t heal until they feel safe. Consequently my responsibility to them is to build an environment of safety in the context of our relationship. Glenn shared a few things they are doing at the children’s home that I find to be relevant in all relationships where safety is a priority. I think I will write another piece listing those ideas tomorrow. But in the meantime I am thinking about the objective of safety for my friends. How can I create a safe environment for my friends? It is a weighty question. More tomorrow…

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