Monday, December 11, 2006

The Best Things in Life Are Free

I started my morning bright and early, down on the near south west side of the city at what I fondly refer to as "kiddie jail." I know that may seem kind of callus, but what it really is is depressing, and I would rather not feel that, so I make jokes. Ha.

Lemme tell you, kiddie jail is not funny. At all. Quite sad, and even sadder when the kids literally look like they are 13. What goes so wrong in life that you land in jail at age 13? A lot, I know. Most of my work is done in the state's child welfare agency, so I see some pretty horrible stuff and the saddest is part is that some of these kids never really have a fighting chance. As part of my licensing test, I read that there are about six factors that are fairly good indicators of what makes a kid resilient or what leads to a troubled life. The theorist suggests that one factor, like physical abuse, though bad, will still give you a chance, if interventions are made soon enough. Two factors, such as physical abuse and one foster care placement, suggests a slightly worse outcome, and it goes up from there. Most of the kids I work with experiences the TOP FOUR indicators of poor life outcomes. And the most frightening part is that the well of work is bottomless, so all the clients I have already worked worked with (hundreds at this point) only scratch the surface of the number of kids that are being serviced through the system (not to mention those not even in the system but still living terrible lives).

So coming home and complaining about having a day off for training and overeating seems petty, and quite frankly, selfish. But honestly, I feel like crawling out of my skin on the off days. I appreciate the day of rest to let the muscles grow, but I find I eat garbage all day long. What's worse is that I spend most of the day in the house studying, so the biggest distraction (outside of the website) is the fridge. But getting back to what I was saying...

I don't ever really talk about the things I am grateful for on this site, even though I make a nightly inventory of them. So today I am going to start. Today I am grateful for my health, and the ability to do the things I do, like triathlons. I am grateful that the option of doing these races is even an option. I am grateful that, despite the dysfunction of my family, they still support me no matter what, in whatever I do, and never tell me I am crazy, stupid or weak. I am grateful to have friends that keep me on track, save me from myself, and keep me focused on the good in me, not the bad. And lastly today, I am grateful for the ability to come and go as I please, to not have to ask to use the bathroom, to have shoe laces in my shoes, to drive a car, run away, ride a bike, pick up mail, use a computer and complain about the cable service. Little gifts make for a huge life. It could very easily have turned out different.


Anonymous said...

I read the title and thought you were going to say that laughter is free--hello I fell off of a chair for you! But no, you have to go and say health-health schmelth-bring ont he poor man's cookie's and a bag of red vines

Megan said...

Laughter would definately fall into that catagory of the best things- and NO ONE falls off a chair better than you! And don't even try to talk about "Oh, I planned it, I meant to fall!" The look on your face showed you were just as surprised as us. Thanks for keeping me laughing.