Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Caretaker's Rant and other things...

A Caretaker's Rant

Oh, my. It was a tough week with my son. He had a slip-up and used drugs. I was alert enough to notice the signs and I called him on it. He's apologized profusely and he promises to hook up with resources for help.

We went out to a movie together last night and afterward I told him how hard it is on me to follow him on his trips down. Most of the time he is struggling on a path of slow improvement. I drew a long, slow slope up the mountain with my finger. I help him along and encourage him on this path. Then he drops. My finger dropped. If I am following him on his progress, news of his failure drags me down, too. I made it clear I don't want to follow him on his path downward. It is too hard for me. He remembered that I'd said in the past that it is not fair for him to use me as his confessional. He might feel better, but I am left with the burden of another failure. And the worry.

As encouragement I did remind him it was much worse years ago, when months would go by where I would not hear from him, he did not admit to any problem, and I would not know if he were alive or dead.

Evangelical Snobbery

When I first caught wind that my son might be having a bad, bad week, I considered calling his assigned case worker. This man is an evangelical Christian and has encouraged my son to rebuke the devil (reminding Schizophrenics of demons and devils makes me shudder), study his bible more, and attend church regularly.

Now, I come from an Evangelical Church background, so I understand where this man is coming from. But, reader please be patient with me. Regardless what your belief system is, be careful in your beliefs that you don't try and fit all problems in to your mold. I've seen this error in the secular world as much as with the devout.

As a veteran Christian, I am coming to dislike that peculiar type of evangelical snobbery that suggests that there is only one answer and only one way. I am sure this counsellor would dismiss my suggestions if there were the slightest whiff that I might be "unsaved". I've exchanged the evangelical code words that should settle him on this point. Thank God I won't be held hostage to a conversation about my spiritual state.

But also, with the colored glasses of the evangelical, is this counsellor missing the obvious? My son's previous case worker was so practical in her approach. She spoke to my son about respect - showing for appointments on time - his dress - washing regularly. Her approach worked. My son is now religiously punctual. Just imagine how reassuring it is to me that he will show up for his appointed meetings and be speaking to a professional about how his week is going. What a relief for me. How much progress my son has made.

So, as a veteran Christian, I have no patience for mis-applied principles or beliefs. If the principle does not work, we don't blame the victim. Revisit the application of our beliefs. I may have to have a frank conversation with this case worker.

A Great Volunteer Space

Signing up for Homeless Connect yesterday, I was treated to a wonderfully designed volunteer sign up page. The questions were well-designed and in the right order. I received a prompt call-back and I have clear on expectations on my job. While they were at it, the volunteer page collected a lot of information on my interests, which may connect me to similar events and agencies in the future. The website is My Volunteer Page, and it is powered by software called Volunteer2. Kudos to the developers.

I'll be sure to document my experience with Homeless Connect. They are expecting over a thousand visitors to this one-day event to help hook up the street poor with available services. All I've read suggests that this is a world-class intake experience.