I will be taking a GRE prep course over two Saturdays in March in order to pass the GRE and apply for acceptance to the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts at the University of Dallas to pursue a Masters of Psychology degree with a clinical concentration. It is my goal to transition someday from my current career as a salesperson to a career as a licensed professional counselor. It will cost a lot in terms of both time and money to pursue such a career change at this point in my life but I recently realized that the favorite part of my sales career is in helping people solve their problems. The best sales people find people to talk with who have problems, then ask them lots of open-ended questions and attentively listen.
We unfortunately live in a world where we are constantly reminded of cases where tragedy might have been avoided if someone would only have been there to listen. I know the saying goes that “it takes a village to raise a child” but it is not the responsibility of the village to be the front line in loving and rearing our children. Being a parent is a high wire walk, not wanting to coddle our children on one hand while wanting to show them genuine compassion on the other. I am reminded daily of how fleeting life can be as I read posts on Facebook about children struggling with cancer or having been critically injured in accidents. Every time I read one of those posts, it makes me want to hold each of my children tight. It doesn’t take long though for the impact of those posts to wear off and I find myself back struggling with the daily frustrations of kids being kids and me being me. I do think though that if anything can help strengthen the mental stability and emotional health of a child, or of anyone for that matter, it is to simply and silently hold them. I think of how Mary is many times depicted in art holding Jesus’ body after he was taken off the cross and how she must have felt embracing God in the form of a child. Next time your child comes to you with a problem, whether it be real or imagined, instead of going directly into “problem solving” mode, try simply hugging your child until they don’t want to be held anymore and then ask questions and let them talk. I feel that if all parents did this more often, there would be much less need for behavioral health services in adolescence and adulthood.