By Cassie of Cassie’s Corner.
Join Cassie each month for a new heartfelt post. To read more of her writing go to the Cassie’s Corner link on the side of the page.
Blessings, The Midlife Domestic Goddess.
Insanity: the condition of being insane; a derangement of the mind. Extreme foolishness; folly; senselessness; foolhardiness.
We live in an insane world. After graduating from college I entered the work force as a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) Parole Assistant. My case load consisted of Level 2 and 3 Sex Offenders, young men aged 15-18, who were deemed the highest risk to re-offend. All I could think was, wow, when did kids start hurting other kids so horribly. I had taken numerous classes during my four years at the university but nothing prepared me for the real life events that I reviewed in the case files of the youth on my roster. When I started with the JRA I thought I had arrived at my dream career position and I was so excited to be able to start in the field I had always wanted to be in. That excitement was cut short when my job soon turned from trying to help these youth change their lives for the better, into trying to catch them doing something wrong, so I could locked them back up. After only three short months, I was able to determine that the JRA setting was not my dream job but a sad system setting kids up to repeat bad choices and make them feel like no one believed in them.
My second post college job was at a secured drug and alcohol treatment center for 12-17 year old boys. They were all locked in rehab as their last option, it was rehab or a juvenile institution. I loved that job from start to finish. The young men I worked with taught me so much about life and what it meant to be a real person. It was there I learned how fragile todayʼs youth really are. How the choices we make as parents form and shape the choices our children make. To those boys the definition of insanity was doing the same behavior over and over and expecting different results. I always thought that was such an interesting view on life because to me, if I made a choice and didnʼt like the outcome I would just make a different decision the next time. Each young man I worked with helped to shape my view of the world as I walked out my life from behind the fence that kept them inside.
As I prepared to leave that job and transition into another branch of youth social services, I began to pray and ask God to examine my heart and desire to work with At Risk Youth. I was loosing hope in the desire to have my own children due to the pain and anguish I saw so many kids and parents going through over ten years while working in my desired occupation. I prayed constantly for the kids that I worked with, petitioning God to save them and show them who He was through me. Alas, after getting married and becoming a mother in 2006, I decided that I needed a break from full-time work as a Youth Care Specialist in 2008.
Fast forward to the present; I am now a college educated mother of two that holds a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology. I now pray for my own children to know who they are in Christ and for what purpose they were created. I find myself struggling to separate my knowledge of how insane the world can be from being a fun-loving person who welcomes new people into the lives of her children. I send my daughter to school praying that there wonʼt be a mass shooting or some sort of attack. I observe every person who is waiting for a student to be released from school as a potential offender or threat to myself and my children. I am constantly aware of who is around me, what they are wearing, what car they are driving, and all the other aspects of my surroundings.
I am not paranoid. I do not live in fear. I live in the here and now, the realistic part of life and what may happen at the blink of an eye.
I have so much information in my brain that in the natural is overwhelming to think of or comprehend. The experiences that I had working with At Risk Youth have forever shaped me into the person I am today. As a mother I use those years of experiences to help protect and shield my children from the insanity of this world. I am proud of the time I was able to serve caring for other peopleʼs children, it taught how I wanted to love my own. I believe with all my heart that God allowed me to see just how horrible life can be, so that I would be prepared to be a parent in the world my children now live in. For that, I am forever thankful.