I’m running out of excuses to be running late! It’s the easter holidays for my local area so a lot of my work is postponed at the moment and I went away for a few days last-minute. I love being able to do that. I couldn’t last year, with assignments and dissertations and a job I hated. I’m probably going to do it again next week too just because I can.
Anyway, I’m sure me bragging about my freedom to drop everything for a few days is pretty boring for everyone. I’m probably going to bore you more by talking about how I’ve finally felt my worth within several of the groups I’m involved with.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that a potential young leader came to me for advice on how to encourage more positive behaviour within Cubs. Later that same week, one of my fellow leaders at the youth group said that she often felt like the young people didn’t listen to her. The older leaders have a tendency to brush issues like that under the table and prefer to focus on things that younger people don’t see as a problem. In this instance, when our youngest leader spoke up about something she actually wanted help with, she was ignored by the older ones. Not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable,I decided that I’d offer her support on a more private basis and she jumped at the opportunity. When I asked if she’d prefer me to get someone else involved she was more than happy to focus on the issues with me. In a selfish way, I feel as though I can offer more positive advice than some of the other leaders simply because I have the better experience.
The last time our young leader asked for support from the whole group, and perhaps I’m remembering it wrong, one of the more old school leaders told her to work her way up through the young people. By this, he meant for her to tell off one of the quieter kids who wouldn’t argue back, then tell off someone else a bit more argumentative and so on. In my experience, that just makes you look like a bully. Personally, I prefer to go at it face first. I pick the fight with the angst ridden, argumentative, top dog who did wrong. It’s a high risk with a high reward. Kids know when they’re doing things they shouldn’t so they back down when you prove to them that you won’t. I’m lucky in that I come from a loud, boisterous family. It means that while I’m willing to have fun, I’ve learnt to force myself to be respected. I think this is what sets me apart from the others. They either want to be top dog or best friend, not in the middle. I’ve always found that it’s best to settle in the middle ground with young people.
Now a year ago, I would never have thought that I’d be the one people would be asking for help from. Not only have I finally “forced” my way into groups, but evidently I’ve thrived. When I left university last year, I didn’t believe that half the activities I began would survive through to my birthday let alone nearly an entire year. Being turned to for advice has just convinced me that I was right in leaving my old job, I’m right in throwing the towel in for teaching. Maybe this won’t be the case in a few years time, but right now, I am suited to what I’m doing. I spoke to a friend who recently started in social work and she agreed that I had the right attitude for a support worker. It’s not necessarily a position I’d stay in forever, especially if I start a family, but it’s confirmed that I’ve made the right decisions over the past year or so.