CYC-Online 100 MAY 2007
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“I dare you”: Our client’s challenge to us

Patricia Vanderheyden

I want to know if you approach each day every day with passion in your heart, knowing that you are about to impact my life, not only for a shift, or a day but for a lifetime. Do you have the fire in your belly that will drive you to professional excellence and integrity?

I want to know if you will trust my innate wisdom leading you to new frontiers that may defy the empirically supported treatment of the day. Will you dare to embark on a road less traveled, and risk the potential criticism and ridicule of your peers to spearhead new and innovative strategies that give voice to my needs? Will you go out on a limb for me?

I want to know if I can see in you, a role model of fairness, equality and respect instead of someone who is completing a shift. Will you dare to bridge the gap between us created by your hastily made decisions or inconsistent consequences? Will you accept responsibility (as you would expect of me) and apologize when you make a mistake? I want to know if you will fan into flame the waning embers of my self-esteem, remnants from the raging fires of trauma, abuse and neglect.

I want to know if you can see my preciousness beneath my iron-clad armour that protects my vulnerability. Will you tread respectfully and carefully on the sacred ground of my woundedness to bring me closer to recovery and healing? I want to know if you have enough power in your own life so you don’t need to have power over mine.

I want to know if you can “be with” my intense emotions presented before you, often disguised by my behaviour. Will you stay with me and be the container I need for big feelings instead of running away and avoiding them because you are afraid?

I want to know if you will discard the sometimes convenient and familiar garment of judgment and harshness, for a cloak of compassion and understanding. I need you to deal with your own shadow so that you can know that there is more to me than mine. Will you face your own demons so that you won’t demonize me?

I want to know if you can take up this challenge. Your example is important to me because if I can see you doing it, then I know there is hope for me!

This piece was inspired by Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s prose poem entitled The Invitation.

The International Child and Youth Care Network

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