Saturday, March 12, 2011


Nurturing goes many ways, especially at the shelter where I volunteer.

My weekly groups are a form of nurturing, even if many older kids resist attending them at first. I listen to them, challenge unrealistic beliefs, smile a lot, but show concern when necessary. Once kids realize I'm on their side and I'm not going to report them to their parents or their parents to "The State," they open up. Talking about their fears and anger helps. Figuring out who's "good" or "bad" gives them a more mature perspective on their confusing lives.

Women and mothers at the shelter often nurture each other. They don't always get along, but some share what they've cooked for supper. Many hold, feed, and pay attention to other womens' kids when the women are not able to. Especially when they first arrive.

The staff nurtures children and women by doing all they can with limited time and resources. Older kids play with and take care of younger kids. They explain, listen, and even discipline appropriately.

And the kids nurture the staff, their mothers, and me. Their smiles, trust, and emotions often take a while to emerge, but when they do, I know I am getting more than I give. Thus helps me stay connected and motivated to do whatever small things I can.

Like nurture. Nurturing is a circle and I feel blessed to be part of it.

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