Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

No - that's a lie. I know exactly how I feel about this. What is "this?" "This" is the fact that both of the women I work with are moms of teenagers I am supposed to be ministering to. I know exactly how I feel about this: I don't like it one bit.
  1. They are less interested in the program as a whole and more interested in what I can do for their kids.
  2. They keep telling me stuff like, "We know these kids." And "once you get to know them, you'll understand where we're coming from." Frankly, they only know their kids, and maybe their kids' friends.
  3. Heaven forbid that I inadvertently deride some parenting practice in which they are firm believers. It is always followed by the line: "When you're a parent, you'll understand."
  4. As insiders, that is, long-time residents (both of them were in the community loooong befor they were staff here) they are steeped in the same sense of entitlement that characterizes this rich, white, Connecticut community. In other words, they want it their way, and they expect to get it their way.

I kinda liked it better in my previous situation. All of us on staff were basically transplants from other places. Or we commuted from other communities. Other than me, the people on staff brought experience from work in many different communities under many different circumstances. There was a healthy objectivity that resulted and we attempted to do what was right for the community without taking it too personally. The staff could take the long view, while volunteers and council members could deal with the day-to-day angst. In other words, Alan could tell me that I should be working with the 6th graders hardest, because they'd be 11th graders in 5 years and no one on staff would then say, "Well, what about my daughter now?" [I should probably point out that I never took Alan's advice about anything and it probably cost me my job.]

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wish I could do my job with people somewhat less encumbered with all the baggage associated with living for decades in this community. Someday I hope I can work again with people who bring a wealth of variety and experience to the table. The cool thing is, these ladies I am working with are really just beginning their careers in the field. With any luck, given 25 years or so, they'll be as excellent as some I've worked with before.

In the meantime, I'm 29 years old, and I have more experience in the field than both of them put together. Oh well. They're smart people. They'll come around soon enough.