Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Respond in Kind

There were many choices for my "R" blog post today. Rest. Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic. Rave. Rise and Shine. Rambunctious. Reactions. Really???

I landed on Respond.

I've made promises to certain people, who may be in my life long-term or not, that I will always respond to them when I'm called. A few of these people are little ones that need an adult to actually answer their questions. This went from my own daughter, to my cousins I babysat for, to my god-daughter, to any child I encounter anywhere.

We often find ourselves so busy with life that we will "Uh-huh" a child in a heartbeat without a thought. They want and need answers and attention to what they are saying or trying to say. They need to know you heard them. Would you do that to an adult? Would an adult tolerate that kind of a response? Well, yes, some would. I don't.

What children ask are important to them at the time. Respect for them as people requires that they have your attention and a response to their cares. Their cares may be tiny to us. Their cares may be a topic they'll forget and move away from in 3 minutes. But, at that time they ask, it's important and should be acknowledged.

Whenever anyone speaks, it's for a reason. Otherwise, it's called THINKING.

That means, the phone is put down, texting is stopped, music is muted, and full attention is given for those few minutes they need you.

If a child knows they can ask anything and get an answer, even if it's, "I don't know the answer to that.", they appreciate it. It makes them feel more confident, supported, and loved. It helps them grow and understand the World. They had something to say and someone bigger heard them.

As a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, that's my job.

Any case I'm given, I listen. I ask questions and I answer a lot of them. Children want to know what the adults in their lives are doing to make their lives better. They want to know what they did wrong (NOTHING!). And, they want to know when things will be better and how.

I answer what I can legally and only what their age can handle. Again, if I don't know the answer, I promise to find out. Then, I do. I respond.

So, respond in Truth. Respond with kindness. Respond with care. Respond as clearly as you can that they will understand.

I've spoken of the program before and hope readers have checked it out. In other States, it may be known as CASA. Volunteers are ALWAYS needed, unfortunately, because there are thousands of children in the Foster Care System that need a voice. Depending on the case you choose to accept, it doesn't take a lot of your time. It takes your caring, sharing a few hours per month, and willingness to be a voice for a child. There are frustrations but there are great rewards, also.

Ginger Kadlec (+Ginger Kadlec) (@GingerKadlec) is a blogger running a website announcing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. It's definitely worth checking out whether you seek to volunteer or not.

Reboot Challenge? Listen!


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