Have you ever spent valuable time on a project that you later had to completely re-do? Or realized, after a meal is finished, that you forgot one ingredient? If so, allow me to assume you felt frustrated, or possibly disappointed, with yourself. Similarly, that is the feeling that overwhelmed me in August. I was given the name of the first student I would be meeting with every Monday, at 4:10pm, for counseling sessions. As the first Social Work intern blessed to be at PTM, I was excited, and nervous, to put my knowledge to practice. Initially, my supervisor led me in creating an agenda for my meetings with the student. I was eager and ready to begin our first session as I sat with him. However, the meeting did not go as planned and he did not seem willing to talk to me.
Our meetings continued as scheduled and December quickly arrived. During those first few months, it seemed like a lot had happened. Since our few meetings did not go as planned, my supervisor and I had created a new agenda. I felt like I was trying to form a positive, trusting bond with a child that did not want to reciprocate the same. Again, I felt disappointed in myself and worried that no progress had been made. Honestly, I debated telling my supervisor it might be time to terminate the meetings. I struggled with that thought as I sat with the student in our last session before Christmas Break. Time had passed and I was ready to dismiss him when he smiled at me and said, “I am going to miss you.” That one sentence completely changed my mind and it was all I needed. He gave me the motivation I needed and I knew I would not give up on this child.
During Christmas Break I spent much needed time talking to God about this particular child. I knew from the beginning I could not do this on my own. I asked God to speak through me during our sessions when I was at a loss for words. I asked that he give me knowledge and the appropriate skills to really help and empower this child.
January arrived and I sat waiting for him at his site. It was 4:10 on the dot and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was full of energy and ready to talk. I looked up and saw him running down the hall. He stopped in front of me and said, “Did you have a good break? Let’s go talk!” At first, I was shocked! Is this kid actually excited to meet with me? I knew immediately God had answered my prayers. Again, I knew I would not give up on this child.
March is almost over and I am amazed at the progress he has made. His site director informed me that he wanted my name to be written on the board, each Monday, so everyone knew we were going to meet. Honestly, I didn’t think we would reach this point back in August, but God always knew.
This is only one story with one child at PTM. I challenge you, in any similar situation, to always remain hopeful as our joy-filled friendships continue to develop. Let’s continue to pour Gods love on these children. I am blessed to have the opportunity to empower one student to reach their dreams, every Monday at 4:10.
Editor’s Note: This student on Mondays is sometimes pacing back and forth mumbling, “4:10, 4:10, 4:10….When is it going to be 4:10”? It is powerful to observe the hope of a child which is built by a consistent and caring adult .