Today I experienced the wonderful opportunity to share breakfast with a group of retired Public Health Nurses. Everyone is involve in various activities, from travelling, to spending time with grandchildren to working a little.
Someone looked at me and suggested that I was “ still working” to which I replied that “no I am not”. But we see all your posts and your promotions and the training and writing that you do! I laughed and said: “ I am living my retirement dream!”
You see I started planning for my retirement from public health in the early 90’s. Not that I did not enjoy my job at the time but with early retirement I could choose who I want to work with and what I want to do. You see in a government job I was limited in what I could do and who I could work with.
I had a dream of working more with adults as most of the problems the youth I was working with came from the adults in their lives! I was helping youth to take charge of their lives by learning how to interact with the adults around them, how to take responsibility for themselves and get more of what they wanted. It was wonderful but what if we could prevent the need for all these youth to need so much help emotionally.
I love what I do and do not see it as work. However, last evening I listened to a young counselor speak about a local counseling center for youth. The youth do not need to pay for services but now there is a wait list of about 80 youth. For me this is unacceptable.
The question is, how are we as a society letting our youth down? Why are so many having so many emotional issues? How is it that their needs are not being met? Are we so busy we don’t have time for our youth?
We all know that 90% of emotional problems are directly related to a significant relationship in our lives that is not the way we want it to be. It could be a parent, a grandparent, a teacher or some other significant person in our lives.
When I was working with youth, a lot of them had difficulties in school, saying no one really cared about them. All they wanted was good test scores and they could not see the sense in what they were being asked to learn!
The youth of today are our future. What are we doing to support them, help them grow through adversity and success? Are we listening and paying attention? They have the same basic needs as adults. Are we truly there for them or do we spend our time criticizing?
Yours in growing awareness