Empathy and Big Bags of Candy

Empathy and Big Bags of Candy

Empathy and Big Bags of Candy

One of our case managers is pregnant.

For the girls in the cottage where she works, it has become a delightful major focus. Actually, I am not sure if it is the pregnancy or the idea of a baby. It is, for sure, the chance to throw a baby shower for this woman who has become part of their support, their healing, their lives.

I am quite sure none of the children involved in this effort have ever been to a baby shower. The planning, as I watch from afar, involves a great deal of focus on decorations. As a matter of fact, one of my co-workers received a note from one of the girls that says, “I would like to inform you that I am seeking help for decorations for the baby shower.” So, when I mentioned I was going to one of our Thrift Stores for a meeting, I was tasked with finding “anything” that could be part of the ambiance they are trying to create. (For the record, I did find tiny plastic decorative baby blocks, streamers, and baby washcloths. I love our Thrift Stores.)

The letter went on to ask for help to find a few more items: Big bowls for snacks, Goodie bags, A large bag of assorted candy, Tissue paper for gifts, Balloons, 1 liter bottles of pop (soda).

I have been to a lot of baby showers. The large bag of assorted candy and the Goodie bags have me stumped. But in all fairness, the baby showers I have attended have not been planned by young teen girls who live in a residential treatment center while working on healing from their own trauma. 

It all makes me smile. Not only because of the quirkiness, but also because of the empathy these children are developing. Children who have suffered severe trauma often lose their sense of empathy. They have had to work so hard to survive, that they have not been able to think about what others are going through. A traumatized child must focus on themselves and the small part of the world they can influence.

It is only when they begin to heal that they can really, truly, see the world through other’s perspectives. This group of kids is working so very hard to make something special happen for their case manager, a person they care about.

That shows me they feel safe. They can drop their guard a little and do something very kind for someone else. What a delight for them and the people around them.

Bring on the Goodie bags!

In His love,

Joy Ryan, President/CEO
Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch

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