Now What?

The morning news gave me this. With this.

I work in a home for youth in crises. My guess is that the kids mentioned in these articles will be visiting our hallowed halls before too long. Or maybe visiting Henrico’s Finest. It’s a toss-up.

I never know how to handle these things, emotionally. I really want to adopt all these kids, bring them into my home and  show them that there are people on this Earth who don’t want to hurt them. Show them that they can have a real life, an honest life, and that they could enjoy that life. I want to just hug them all and make it better. I want to believe that I can give them enough love and all will be OK. Intellectually, I know that’s stupid. But I want to believe.

Hubby says that’s what comes of having young children. Our kids’ emotions are real enough, but a hug and an understanding word – letting them know they’re not alone in the world – usually works to calm their fears. A night-light performs miracles. Not so with kids who have to live in the carnage described in these articles. I think Hubby may be right about this.

Last night, Youngest Son shouted from the family room, “Mmmoooooahmmmmmeeee!” I was in the kitchen – in direct line of sight of him when he yelled. When I answered with a quiet but sarcastic, “Yes, Love?” (shall I tap your shoulder?) Youngest Son said, “Just wanted to make sure you were close.”  Damn. That’s what they need at six, seven – on up to the teens, and even later (though they’d never admit it). Hell, sometimes I need that now. They don’t even have to like us – they just have to know we’re close.

What about these kids? Where to, from here?


One response to “Now What?

  1. Very sad. When I was a prosecutor, I worked for a few weeks at juvenile court. I remember one kid they brought in chains… the whole get-up, leg chains, wrists chained to his waist. He looked like the nicest kid in the world, really, a very sweet face, at about 16, I guess. And usually he was nice, but on a fairly random basis, he would just snap, unleashing extreme violence. Turns out that when he was little, he saw his dad shoot and kill his mother. I really don’t know where you go from there.

    I was talking with a juvenile probation officer once. He said that when he first started in the business, over 20 years ago, what scared him the most were the kids with pure anger and hatred in their eyes. Nowdays, he wishes he could have them back, because what really scares him are the kids with absolutely NOTHING in their eyes. Utterly devoid of all emotion.

    Fortunately, those all-but-hopeless cases are relatively rare. Most juvenile delinquents can in fact be helped tremendously with the proper combination of love, compassion, and discipline. One of the ways the juvenile justice system needs improvement is to better separate the really dangerous, violent kids from the rest.

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