When we work with children with trauma sometimes the mission seems so daunting and scary. But here is a story that inspires us, and reminds us why our work needs to be continued.
When 7-year-old Bobby first came to our program, he distanced himself from peers, uncertain whether to trust people. We allowed Bobby the time and space he needed to process and make sense of the environment; cultivating the environment that he felt safe to be who he was.
Bobby’s voice mattered in our program.The first thing Bobby shared with us was his favorite video game that he used to play with his father. Although, he spent most of his time explaining the rules about the game, at the end of his sharing he softly said, “I guess I miss him...” It was his way of processing and expressing his sense of loss and his way of making sense of why he no longer was able to see his father. When children talk about video games, especially the violent ones, often they get shut down too soon, losing the opportunity to truly understand the message behind their sharing.
One day, after exploring various mindfulness tools, Bobby decided to play with paints. His hands were covered with paints, and he observed how paints transformed colors right in front of his eyes. Then, Bobby came up to us and asked,
“Do you know what’s the greatest tool we have?”
Our facilitator asked, “What is that?” Bobby smiled and replied,
“It's OUR BRAIN! Because we can think, fix things and make stuff like this (paints)!”
This is empowerment, and this is our program.