ahh, now you all want applications to work at Adriel, don’t you? Well, perhaps this is a good time for me to point out that its only about 1% of my job during the short time we spend training new employees.
See, our employees need to be prepared to work with a challenging set of kids… part of that is learning to deal with aggressive behaviors and aggressive language. So one day out of every training for new employees, I get called in to act like a very out of control teenager, curse words included. We had one staff who was very uncomfortable cussing so he’d say “cuss cuss” instead of using the actual words.
Not very intimidating, right?
Its actually a very stressful day for new employees… I remember, I was a nervous wreck the morning I knew I was going to have to go head to head with a staff person acting like a behaviorally challenged child while the rest of my class watched.
Its definitely better on the other side.
I always feel bad for the employees a little as I storm around the room, throwing things and yelling and making the wost insults I know how. Today I felt worse than usual.
I made someone cry.
She did a fabulous job of interacting with me, but after one particular insult, I had her nailed to the wall.
That’s my job, really, for that 1% of the time… to find out the triggers for each person and make sure to hit on them, just like the kids will do to them when they begin working in one of our residential homes.
It might be an asset for my job that I am particularly skilled at pinpointing vulnerable spots. In real life? Not something that necessarily goes into the ‘pros’ column.
Naturally, growing up in a house full of people, today wasn’t the first time I realized how damaging this ‘gift’ has the potential to be. It just seemed so obvious standing the front of that stark white classroom, watching the sweet new employee choking back her tears. Sure, I was acting…but the skill? All mine.
A week ago today, my dear friend Sarah (who has now made it to IHOP with her family safely- thank you Jesus!) and I were parting ways at Panera Bread’s double doors. We hugged and said goodbye and then she stopped me. “Do you know who you are? I mean, really? Do you remember who you are?” I felt my chest tighten and my smile becoming more rigid. “I am starting to,” I told her as honestly as I knew how. She grabbed my hand and did one of the things she does best, she encouraged my heart by recounting stories from the past and highlighting the strengths and gifts she has seen over the years.
One of the things she said? “You have a gift with people”
Isn’t it alarming how easily a gift can become a curse? The same gift that at times has allowed me to uncover with kindness an old hurt is the same ‘gift’ that allows me to know just how to hurt someone deeply.
The reminder today was timely. I love words and I also know how to weild them like the sharpest weapon you can imagine. I know how to detect a weak spot in a person… who I was, who I am, and who I have the potential to become has everything to do with how I handle the vulnerabilities of those I encounter.
Jesus, give me a soft heart, round out the rough edges, and rebuild the sensitivity I once found so natural.