Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized
I’m in the midst of a ten-month curriculum re-write and most of my writing time and energy has been focused on that project rather than #mysilentscream. That said, when TreeHouse graciously offered to throw me an “open house” to celebrate my 25th anniversary at TreeHouse I began to think beyond the present and reflect on the past.
In the past twenty-five years I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself, my family, my friends, the staff I serve alongside and the teens and parents that we serve. As I thought about it I decided to think through ten important lessons I learned in those twenty five years. This series is called “10 in 25.”
Expect the Unexpected
On June 30, 1989 I met Wayne, Sara, Shawn, Tara, Michelle, Tom, Beth, Amy, Justin, Rachel, Ann Marie, Krissy, Lori, Roy, Jenny, Dennis, “PD,” and Jason and John (pictured) at TreeHouse. ***
That summer I fell in love with them, and I fell in love with TreeHouse.
What’s not to love?!?
Drama – Have you met a teenager?!?
Intrigue & Suspense – I love being invited into their stories.
Humor & Irony – Life is ironic. You have to learn to laugh.
Teamwork & Solo Adventures – Interdependence and personal responsibility.
Nobility & Honor – I’ve met many teens and adults I admire.
Heroes & Humility – I admire the sacrifice that people make to help others.
Risks & Rewards – How to decide if the reward is worth the risks involved?
Pursuit of Security & Freedom – It’s been the dominant theme of adolescence.
On March 12, 1990, having spent the previous eight months as a volunteer and an unpaid intern, I was hired as a TreeHouse employee.
I was nervous and enthusiastic, and didn’t know what I’d face.
What was I learning?
It wasn’t going to happen the way I planned. Almost immediately I was catapulted into the fact that as much as I planned and prepared, I had to expect the unexpected.
My first month … was eventful. As with all new jobs the position came with some abrupt challenges. As opposed to a nice settling-in time, my first couple weeks included:
* Reconciling an abusive mother and daughter
* Three teens attempted suicide
* Two teens began a personal relationship with God
* Three kids sent to Juvenile Corrections
* Two staff conflicts
* Three kids went into drug treatment programs
* And my boss told me that he was resigning
That’s right, two weeks after I was hired my direct supervisor announced he was quitting to return to school. He was part of the reason that I came to TreeHouse. Expect the unexpected.
Despite these challenges I found my work to be not only rewarding, but also life-changing. I have been repeatedly humbled, while also tremendously honored to see the work of God in, around and through me.
Twenty-five years ago I fell in love with a community of people and a mission committed to care for them. In the midst of that I’m learning.
“Expect the unexpected!” is #mysilentscream.
*** Note: Teens no longer are allowed to smoke at TreeHouse.