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Why I Turned Down The Opportunity of a Lifetime . . .

I recently read an article in Psychology Today that talked about reinventing yourself. It hit home  . . .

True to form, I am just as reactive to situations as any good six year old boy. I see it every day, I’m asked about it everyday . . . how do we get student A to start thinking and stop being so impulsive? In these situations, I have all sorts of tricks and ideas as to why these students are impulsive, how to get them to stop acting and start thinking, but when it comes to myself  . . . . when the going gets tough, I have a horrible track record of jumping ship.

photo(15)

Another blog awhile back, thanked me and congratulated me on my honesty, as I work to build a program often times ignored and under appreciated. I remind myself that counselors are the quiet warriors and to take pride in knowing that you are the invisible, background cheerleader.

Yet, when I walk into work every day and feel like I’m walking back into a weird version of high school. The cliques, the rumors, the feelings of “not being good enough,” tip toeing around colleagues . . . it is hard to remember the real reason for my purpose . . . because here I am, the misfit. The one everyone is quick to judge, yet not quick to know or understand. No, I am not talking about myself personally, just myself as counselor.

Everyone believes they “know” what you do . . . but I believe the exhaustion I feel at the end of the day from the tantrums I calm down, the e-mails of hurt I receive, the secrets I hold, is far, far unappreciated . . . .SO when given a chance to get out, I was ready to  . . . . jump ship.

photo(14)When the opportunity and offer to become a director of a local elementary school was placed in my lap, I told myself that this was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up . . . and then I stopped and started to think.

I thought of all the times I had been ignored at work, all the times I had tried as hard as I could to change behaviors, make a difference, get through without any sight of improvement. I recalled all the times I felt I had finally been successful with my students, colleagues, administration, just to find out that in some way I had fallen short . . . again. I was ready to get out. I was ready to start new, get out of the horrible box my school had placed me in.

But then, I turned down my impulsive thinking and began to remember why I started counseling to begin with. It wasn’t for these people who didn’t appreciate me, because let’s be honest . . . we never entered counseling for ourselves and our own validation . . . it was for the children and what they needed.

I once wrote about my counseling philosophy and I was reminded of my original plan:

– “We must provide opportunities for the child to grow and develop in all aspects of his/her life or we must help remove barriers that inhibit this growth. A person is shaped by all facets of their life, past, present, and future.”

– “Part of my career goal entailed starting this program, I only hoped the school would give me the opportunity to show what an asset a school counselor could be to our boys. I am lucky enough to have been given the opportunity and now my philosophy of counseling is helping to develop this program.”

– “With the use of play, I hope to help children develop their own resources to successfully solve problems and meet the challenges in life with necessary skills. I believe that given the opportunity to explore current barriers any child can overcome emotional, social, and academic difficulties present in his/her life.”

– “So when someone says to me, “Oh you got into counseling to get out of the classroom?” I can be rest assured that they do not understand my true intentions of helping children grow into becoming a person of their full emotional, social, and academic potential. I got into counseling to do just that.”

I can look back and honestly ask, where did this person, with these goals go? And then I remember, she was offered a job to be director of an elementary school and thought that the easiest way to end her own dissatisfaction was to jump ship and move on.

But when I sat down to become a counselor, I was striving for so much more  . . . and so I decided to turn the job down and focus my energy back to the profession I loved. I placed all my other feelings on the back burner and focused hard on what mattered, the integrity of the job I KNOW I am doing well. I can honestly say I love what I do, no matter where I work.

So, I leave an opportunity behind me . . . with only questions in my head . . .

What’s a dreamer to do? What will I regret not having done? How can I reinvent myself?

photo-1(Me, as a Kindergartener dreamer)

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