I think perhaps for the first time I have learned- the hard way- that I have an anger problem. Acknowledging this for myself is a fairly significant step for me. I know that others have tried to point this out to me in the past, asking “are you angry?” on several occasions when working through interpersonal stuff, but I was not at that time able to see or own it. It isn’t that I wouldn’t see it; I think it’s more that I was so busy working on all my other “stuff” that I couldn’t see it. Anyway, I’ve let it (my anger) get in the way of my right relating often enough that it is apparent to me now. Of course, I’ve long known that I have a heartfelt need to be known and accepted- even approved of- by those around me. This yearning for validation is keenly connected to my “baggage” from childhood. I want to be understood as someone who has overcome tremendous odds and in many ways has even flourished, often as a result of what I would like to think of as dogged determination. In any case, I have been presented with what I will heretofore think of as an opportunity to work on all this stuff- my anger, my need to be understood and validated. This opportunity comes in the form of a couple of interpersonal relationships in which my anger is routinely aroused and in which I have no realistic hope of ever being truly known or understood. This is very hard, but I hope, good. Naturally, my inclination is to run away from such relationships, but circumstances make that problematic, at best; so I must trust that the Holy Spirit has placed me precisely in the position I need to be in to grow in this way, and I will do my best to do so.
It’s amazing what a difference a week makes. Before resigning I made numerous attempts to express, in various ways, my grave concern about my job at Blick, including how the Home Coordinator position in general was structured and also how the particular home that I managed was setup. So, about a week after I gave my notice, things really started to happen- I got a call from my supervisor’s supervisor stating that a number of significant changes were about to made, including just about everything I would have recommended, had I been given the chance. The changes were presented as an incentive for me to stay. The changes for all the Home Coordinators included creating an Assistant Home Coordinator position that would hopefully involve promoting one of the support staff and giving them a $2/hour raise. It would be mandated that the Home Coordinator and Assistant Home Coordinator would each take their two days off separately so that whoever was off could really be off and all emergency calls, call-off’s, etc. would go to the other person. The Home Coordinator and Assistant would also each carry a pager, rather than a cell phone, which somehow seems less intrusive and is good. They also stated that they were going to hire a number of float staff and assign them to regions- so as not to overburden them and make sure enough were available to fill in open shifts at the various homes. They would also pay the float staff a little bit more than the regular staff in the homes so that they would have an incentive to remain float staff. The major specific change that was to be made in my home involved finally, after much lobbying, recognizing the degree of difficulty of simply showing up to work in that home by paying the staff there a bit more than other staff; call it "hazard pay," if you will. Anyway, all of this was wonderful and sorely needed, and though it could not convince me to rescind my resignation, I was very glad to see that my move would result in some much needed change, and that I would be leaving behind a much better situation than what I had inherited upon starting.
So, a couple of weeks ago I stared out at Summit Academy in Canton in my role as an IEP Coordinator there. It’s been good so far. It’s a position of some responsibility as I am sort of the "number 2" person on the administrative team at the school and so will wind up handling a number of things beyond IEP’s, I’m sure, including student and staff discipline issues. The IEP’s will be challenging enough, though, as I’ll have a caseload of over 100 students that I write the Individual Education Plans for, including doing the associated testing beforehand and scheduling and facilitating the meeting to talk about everything with parents, teachers, etc. I will also be responsible for overseeing the implementation of each plan and monitoring progress, etc. I have an office, which is nice, and though there is a ton of paperwork involved, it’s stuff that comes pretty naturally to me, and I get to build relationships with kids, not to mention staff and parents to boot. As I’ve said before, the hours are regular weekday/daytime hours, which means all of the following and more: I’ll be able to be a much better husband and father, I’ll be better able to keep working at building God’s kingdom through serving the church community we’re helping to plant here by leading their microcommunities/cell groups, and I’ll be able to go back to school after all too. For all these things, I thank God.
In the meantime, I have a big, exciting weekend coming up. We’re flying in my life-long friend Jeff from Texas on Friday and on Saturday he and I will be heading down to the good ol’ Pro Football Hall of Fame to witness the induction of Troy Aikman. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I know we’re both very excited…