Relationships come in many shapes and sizes. Not all relationships are created equal. Some relationship we need to survive everyday. Others we need at certain times in our lives to continue or change our journey. Some relationship last a lifetime other are blip on the radar of life. All our relationships we have experienced positive or negative have had and will continue to have an impact on our lives and who we are in some way. Choose relationships wisely and learn from all of them.
Family and Friends
I see family and friend as one category because my family are my friends and my close friends have become my family. I feel family and friends are a critical relationship to my survival. Without the love, support, understanding of my family and friends they are many challenges in my life I may not have been able to overcome. I feel the most important characteristic of family and friend relationships in reciprocal support and investment in each other. If we are able to listen to each other’s problems, give and accept advise, care and be cared for, love and be loved, we can make a positive difference in each other’s lives. There are time were these relationships are challenging. We do not always see eye to eye on every issue or circumstance. However, the important component isn’t that we always agree which would be impossible, but that we are able to respect and love the other person enough to apologize and forgive when needed, listen and no give unwanted advise when needed, encourage and support as needed, and be willing to compromise. With out the support and encouragement of my friends and family I would not be able to succeed in my personal or professional life. With a solid support system at home, I am able to go to work every day with confidence and compassion for others.
Colleges are a different type of relationship than friends and family. My colleges past and present are a resource for me to depend on for support in the providing the best education to my student’s possible. Having positive college relationships makes a difference in the enthusiasm of going to work every day. When colleges are able to be respectful, supportive, and collaborate, the work environment is one that allows for the maximum potential of growth. When work environments are, negative moral and quality are low. I find it very challenging to work with people who are negative and unsupportive toward others. When you can work with your colleges as a team you can freely shared your concerns, needs, and challenges and expect to receive guidance, compassion, and support. As a teacher, I find positive relationships with my colleges are essential to providing positive quality instruction in my classroom. If the environment the school is negative, that negativity can make its way into your classroom and have a damaging affect on students learning. It can be challenging to always have a positive relationship with all colleges. We are not going to always agree on the best way to approach all topics. The key is listening, supporting, challenging, and begin compassionate to one another. I do not feel I need to be best friends with all my colleges nor to I expect them to all want to be my best friend. I do feel we need to treat each other with respect and compassion and remember we all want what is best for our students.
The amount of abuse and neglect children face in this country is outrageous. One example of this is a story about a little boy who was dealt an unfair hand in life. This little boy was taken from his biological mother do to abuse and neglect at the age of two. He was placed in foster care with a family friend by DCF. After about a year in this placement it was discovered through his preschool program, he was being abused physically and emotionally. He was removed from this home and placed in a temporary foster home with very caring people at three years old, who seemed to make him feel safe and loved. Even in this positive loving environment, his aggressive and violent behaviors became too much for the family to support on a long term basis. DCF then placed him in a “forever home”, he was transitioned slowly and very positively into this new home. He was able to begin with appropriate behaviors and seemed happy. After a few months, his behaviors at home and school began to deteriorate. Then his behaviors began to spiral out of control. He was referred to Child First, and United Services for additional support within the home. He had been referred to the SST program at school for additional support and services at school.
As I learn more and more about early childhood development and the critical role early interactions and experiences play in the formation of the brain and ones ability to function effectively, I wonder how will this little boy make it? His early abuse and neglect will continue to have an impact on his future, to what extent I do not know. Can those negative experiences be made up? In the research I have done most experts predict abuse and neglect will have a lasting impact on a child throughout their life. The level of this impact may vary depending on the type, severity, and duration of the abuse or neglect. More needs to be done to prevent abuse and the cycle of abuse to continue in this country. It is heartbreaking as a teacher to see the needs these children not being met. At times I have to stop and realize the academics I want children to learn to be prepared for the next grade is not always the most important need of a child. If a child feels unsafe and/or malnourished, they are not in a state of mind where they are able to focus and retain academic knowledge. All children need their need there basic needs meet first.
Looking at statistics of abuse and neglect in comparable countries, the US is usually ranked as having a high level of child maltreatment. I wonder if part of the reason is because we as a country are more vocal about the abuse we witness. Are we more likely to report what we see than in other countries where some abuse is more accepted within the cultural norms of the society? Whether or not our country has the highest rates or not, there is far more abuse and neglect happening daily than is imaginable. It is everyone’s job, especially those of us who work closely with children to be aware and report any abuse or neglect. We must speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. It is critical that professionals in the early childhood field receive training on recognizing maltreatment, strategies to support these children, and refer children and families to the proper resources that can give them the support they need.