A Safe Haven to Grow

A Safe Haven to Grow

My name is Jo, and over the last 13+ years of working with students I’ve had countless meaningful interactions, but nothing quite like Life Coaching with Together We Thrive.

With some distance and perspective from the daily activity, I can say that sitting with these resilient souls, who navigate life in survival mode yet cling fiercely to hope, is both humbling and inspiring. Their determination to break free from the patterns of their past and family history is nothing short of awe-inspiring. It’s a privilege to be a part of their journey towards a brighter future. However, in the day-to-day “trenches” of this work, there are moments when I think all of us wonder “Are we getting through?” “Are they ready and willing to do the work it will take in order for life to look different?” “Are they just here for the snacks?” 

In recent sessions with one youth in particular, I could tell that she was distracted, disengaged and seemed disinterested in the things I was asking her about, giving short, surface-level answers to any questions or activities I posed. Then, one day, I returned from my lunch break to find her sitting at my work area, head on the desk, eyes puffy from a day spent crying. The next 2 hours spent with her revealed the weight of the pressures she feels in just about every area of her life, and her lack of trustworthy adult relationships to help her navigate or carry these burdens. With humility, I was struck by the idea that she felt safe in our relationship and in the environment Together We Thrive had created for students just like her. The girl that seemed so distant and disengaged in the weeks prior had made an intentional effort to step beyond her own protective walls, to come and share what was on her mind and heart. 

This encounter reminded me of two things. First, the “fruit” born from our encounters with these youth will show itself in different ways and at different times. Our consistency and presence as Life Coaches often does more to plant seeds of trust and hope than the words we offer. Our time spent with students may become more about clearing debris or preparing ground where seeds planted now can take root and produce fruit in a season further down the road. And, sometimes, we may be fortunate enough to see glimpses of that new fruit.

Second, without a willingness to be interrupted, we may miss an opportunity to be present with someone in a moment of need. I did not have this student on my schedule that afternoon, and my type A personality could have stressed about the fact that my day was now disrupted. I believe there are Divine Disruptions in our lives. For me, interruptions like this remind me that my best laid plans are still that – the’re MY plans. What I continue to learn is that the ability to make ourselves available to love and serve others is only as good as our ability to be interrupted from what we think is most important.

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