I wasn’t quite sure whether or not I had anything to offer on the topic of prisms. Honestly, I didn’t understand how to apply the concept to writing a piece. I mean sure, I own a Pink Floyd t-shirt but who doesn’t these days? I decided to stop trying to deep think on the topic and take it at face value and ask myself one simple question. “What in my life allows me a new or different way of looking at things?”
My answer was instantaneous. Children. We’ve all heard the saying that children are the future but have we ever really considered how true it is? I mean look at the readers and writers of Loco Mag. College-aged individuals with fresh and innovative ideas that come from baby boomers and other groups that were once the children of the future as well. The advancement of the world exists because children are, and have always been, the future. Now, how does this apply to me,prisms, and new ways? Well, I’m a Behavioral Health Worker and I also have a job in Therapeutic Support for children. My job consists of working in academic and socially structured settings (daycare, community, school) with at risk youth. My kids come from poverty stricken neighborhoods, single parents homes, or homes that do not consist of a single parent, i.e. aunt, uncle, grandmother, caretaker. The children I work with all have some form of a behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder that may affect their abilities to perform well in the social and academic setting that they are assigned. My job is to use therapeutic approaches to redirect and teach these children. Now, this is no easy job but it must be done and I love being the person to do it. My kids are a prism for me. They remind me that all children are unique and creative no matter the labels that are slapped on them. Children feel just as anyone else does and that’s important to remember. These children give me new ways to show humanity, humility and value. Working with these children helps me in my adult life as well. I often need to teach children basic manners, or proximity control or personal space or just how to pay attention. I find myself saying, “No thank you”, and trying to get them to do so when refusing an unwanted advance. As adults, we forget that sometimes the basics are better. We feel compelled to do for others or accept unwanted advances all at the risk of endangering ourselves. A simple “no thank you” in the workplace goes a long way.
I’ve also learned that there is a wide variety of things that can be therapeutic. Therapy doesn’t necessarily mean sitting and opening up to someone because children and adults alike know how hard that is. Therapy can be any activity that allows you to be at ease and be released or deescalate a situation. Therapy can be making airplanes, molding play-doh, coloring, or reading a book. All of these simple things we have almost immediate access to but neglect. In order for us to help and contribute to the success of the future we need to pay attention to and contribute to the success of the children who hold it in their hands.
If a prism is to give you a new way of viewing things then working with children has given me a fresh pair of eyes. I often hear people limiting children in their likes, their hobbies and general interests. Why do people tell little boys that pink is for girls? Why are cars only for boys? There are men and women who break barriers each and every day and may have been the first to do so. We should want children to look at generations past and reach for a brighter and more innovative future. One without limitations. I enjoy what I do because it keeps me on my toes but I love it more because I realize everyday that the children I surround myself with can be a better prism for me.