Last night I was talking to one of the young people I work with. She’s being released in a few days, and she was telling me that she was afraid of making some of the same mistakes that led to her being placed with us in the first place. I tried to hear the feelings behind the words she spoke, but I don’t know if she felt listened to and understood. I don’t think she did.
If I could go back to those few minutes I spent with her, I’d want to remember to talk less and listen more.
She asked me to put myself in her shoes and think about how I’d feel. I tried. I really did, but did I succeed?
She’s leaving before my next shift, so I won’t have a chance to make it right with her. I hope she heard what I was trying to say instead of what I actually said. If she didn’t, I hope at least I didn’t make things worse.
Maybe next time I’ll remember what I learned last night. Sometimes this helping thing isn’t as easy as it looks.