Tips of the Toes

The only constant in this job is change.

That was what I was told about this job during our two weeks of training. Be ready for anything. I’ve also learned that in this job I have to be ready to not be shocked about anything. The youth do all sorts of stupid and silly things all the time. We usually catch them. Sometimes we don’t though. And if I’m not ready to be surprised, then I’ll be caught off guard and won’t be able to properly respond. In this job we have to stay vigilant. We have to stay flexible. We can’t allow them to put us back on our heels. We can’t be caught flat footed. We have to constantly be doing this job on the tips of our toes.

There’s a million oddities about being a family-teacher, but one of the elements that stands out is just how quickly big life-changing decisions can be made. Sarah and I haven’t had an assistant working with us since April. In May one of our girls graduated from high school here and another girl left the program successfully.

About a month and a half ago we welcomed a new girl into our home. She was with us for about two weeks before she was transferred to another home due to a specific behavioral issue that wouldn’t be good for our home. But the morning the decision was made was no different than any other morning. We got up. Ate breakfast, and before noon we were told she was going to transfer out of our home.

There was nothing special on the calendar yesterday. A few appointments here and there. We were making orange chicken for dinner. Maybe take a trip to the mall. But in the late afternoon we get a call from our consultant that we are going to get a transfer from another home. A few hours later she’s making her bed and putting away her clothes in her room. She went to the mall with Sarah and the others.

It’s amazing to me how quickly things can change. Within a few hours we were told we would be getting a new girl in our home and now she’s here. We are responsible for teaching to her, for feeding her, for keeping her safe, and for helping her in school and with her referral behaviors. Earlier in the day we had eight people as a part of the Seaman family. Now we have nine. Next week we could have ten. What an amazing thing. But it happens so fast it’s hard to even understand or reflect on it all.

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