Three Hots And A Cot Baby!!!


It finally happened the other day. After 10 solid months of prayer and begging our administration we have moved on up out of the hood!

Our facility does everything they can to provide the best possible housing for their people that they can. But sometimes, in a small southern town, there is only so much they can possibly do.

When we first moved in to our apartment in the hood, my wife opened a cabinet and half the cabinet came down and knocked her about the head. Our first load of dishes resulted in about 30 gallons of water on the kitchen floor.

The apartment fire was only a temporary 5 week homeless setback. It seems as though there was a “minor” electrical problem with the bathroom fan in one of the apartments bathrooms, which burned out two apartments and seriously messed our place up. Heck if I knew the place was going to catch fire I would have started the dishwasher up.

Our landlord actually owns the majority of our town, so there was obviously no housing code violations or other silly buisness like that. Nope, me and him actually had a good chuckle over the whole fire thing when I was buying our mini-van off of him. (He really does own most of the town).

Anywho, that brings us to now. My supervisor called me the other day and said she scored a house for us. 3 bedroom, fireplace, and screened in back porch. I went home to talk to my wife and then we met our supervisor over at the house.

We almost started crying we were so happy. It’s close to campus and has a huge yard. It is awesome.

I was so stoked about our new digs that I immediately started moving stuff over there. No more long scary nights in the hood for me. Along the way I bumped into a fellow HP here and the next thing I knew there was three other guys helping to get my furniture over to the house.

I am blessed. The house is awesome. But I’m more blessed to have buds that will drop everything to help out a desperate slum dweller such as myself. I am also blessed to have a supervisor that takes care of her people, and goes the extra mile to ensure they are as comfortable and happy as is humanly possible. I truly am lucky to work for a facility of this caliber.

So anybody that wants to drop in, come on down. We actually have a bed for ya this time instead of the blow up mattress.  -Launch

You know your a Houseparent when……

You know your a Houseparent when……

1. Someone is always correcting you after referring to your personal car as “The Van”.

2. On respite your cell phone/ PDA/ personal anxiety alarm go off reminding you it’s time for meds.

3. You have at least one therapist on speed dial.

4. You can name at least six psychotropic meds in three seconds.

5. While trying to do #4 you hit yourself in the head trying to think of what the blue pill is called.

6. On a romantic date all you and your spouse talk about is how the kids would act here…

7. #6 takes place at a McDonald’s.

8. The house parent network is your home page.

9. Grocery shopping looks like a UN food shipment to a small country.

10. You actually know who Father Flanagan was and believe he was either a Saint or at the very least a drinking man.

11. Your 5 year olds pretend to pack their bags and walk around the house pretending to go on “belief”(relief).

12. You’re standing around with a group of Houseparents and when a kid walks by and says “hey Pop”, six of you turn and respond.

13. When your first day of relief/respite begins with a three hour nap!!

14. You begin to wonder if a kid is trying to send a morse code message after they slam a door for the fifth time.

15. You consider coffee and mountain dew a food group.

16. When you think home security, you think of keeping people in, not out.

17. The paint ball guns seemed like a good idea at the time……

18. The house van looks like it barely survived a tour in Iraq.

19. You believe ALL brass instruments are some kind of sick joke by the public school system.

20. You are amazed that God has trusted you, of all people, with so much. (Seriously).

21. Whether on duty or off you count heads to make sure you have everyone in the vehicle before you turn the key in the ignition.

22. Always check what station is on the radio before you turn the sound up.

23. You get more excited about a mini-van with a TV set and two automatic cargo doors than a sports car.

24. You wonder if the key chain hanging from your belt caused the hernia

25. You consider summer vacation a combat tour.

I transferred this over from the forum I have on the sister site, The Christian Houseparent.  I think it is something most everyone can relate to and enjoy.  It was contributed to by several members including Launchpad and myself.   If you would like a place to communicate with other houseparents, ask questions, give answers, network, etc. come on over.  All are welcome regardless of faith.

R U On Crack?

Are You On Crack

Something I have come to notice over the years over the years has been the colorful variety of HP’s I have met. They come from every background and race. The majority have been Christian, but some were not. One lady I met in Macon, Ga was originally from Iran. A guy I work with on campus use to be an Engineer, another retired military. There are former truck drivers and teachers. In our ranks there is everything from ministers to convicts. Yep, we are colorful to say the least.

Two things we all share in common. A calling and stress. You will not last in this profession unless you are absolutely called to it. I think we can all agree on that point. But it is the stress factor I have been pondering greatly as of late.

Things are fairly calm in my life. But some days it feels like I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown. It’s those days I know I’m one step away from trying to wear my wife’s clothes or driving my motorcycle thru a car-wash. It is those days I know I have not been taking care of myself.

Relief workers, ministers, counselors, therapists and other professions that deal with helping others live a double life. On one side you present an image of being all together, a rock of stability. You are responsible for caring and helping many people who are hurting and need help. You have to be strong. On the other side is the frazzled, over weight, over worked, over medicated, depressed care giver. If insomnia is an indicator of stress, just take a look at the forum on the network here. Many of the post are done between 11pm and 4am! (And yes, I know almost all of my posts are in that time frame).

The person responsible for helping others learn to recover and go on to live productive lives are at times victims of themselves. We take on the worlds problems and at times take all the verbal and sometimes physical abuse a client can dish out. We refuse to ask for help. When we do, we have no idea where to go.

By far the most incredible set up of a facility taking care of their own, that I have seen, was Goshen Valley Boys Ranch. All couples on the ranch were encouraged to go see a marital counselor at a church that had no other connection to the ranch. Even if there was no issues going on, they still encouraged you to go, at no charge to the couple. My wife and I benefited greatly from it and I truly wish that more facilities would adopt a similar program as Goshen has.

When it comes to venting and counseling for yourself and/ or your family, remember the golden rule. Never, never, ever seek ANY counseling through anyone associated with your facility. Why? You will get burned.

I personally have never had any issue with any counseling I have ever taken because I follow my own advice. I have witnessed my fellow brethren who were far to trusting of the “Christian” facility they worked for, take the plunge because they thought all the info they shared would stay confidential. 

Unfortunately, Satan works in many venues when he is determined to destroy a ministry. That non-profit group home you work for can destroy you if you forget the golden rule. A facility has a consideration greater than you and your family, themselves. They are responsible for ensuring the facility lives to see another day, they need to be absolutely certain the children in your care are as happy and healthy as possible. Any personal issues they know about you, such as those that come about through counseling, greatly worry them. Most ministries I know of shoot their wounded. It’s not nice or pretty. It’s just the way it is.

Not all facilities are the same. But for the sake of protecting my family and striving to be a professional, I will take my dirty laundry to be aired out in the appropiate place, an independent source that is not affiliated with my facility. The only way to effectively deal with issues you may have is in a place you can speak freely without fear of reprisal.

Or just get a motorcycle and take a trip with me this summer down to Key West. I guarantee you we will solve all our issues and work out a plan for world peace. -Launch

Power Struggle

mad with power

How do you stop a kid from constantly sneaking a smoke every time you turn your back? Or how about a kid that refuses to do homework and/ or turn it in to his teacher? How about this- you can’t.

Some of the most frustrating moments when I first began working as a HP was when a kid said “No”. Or better yet when they continued to do something that was wrong, over and over. I chose to make the rest of that kids evening as frustrating for them as I could. I was the king of power struggles. The more I I got into the power struggle the more they rebelled. To them it was a kinda like a “Fight The Power” thing and for me it was more like a “Your a little snot nosed insolent” thing. Neither one of us would get very far.  

With the majority of my adult life having been spent in the military I was accustomed to having someone tell me to do something and I did it. When I reached a point in my career that others had to follow my orders, I fully expected my instructions to be carried out to the letter. If not, I followed up with varying degrees of colorful language and if need be, physical punishment in the form of making them do exercises or humiliating work such as scrubbing a dumpster with a toothbrush. In fact the last 18 year old high school graduate that told me to go to hell ended up walking 12 miles in full battle gear around the track while I kicked back on a lawn chair and encouraged him with insults at every quarter mile passing. I worked hard at keeping the pimp hand strong and my rep as a hard nose Sargent was well known in our battalion.

The obvious problem with those methods is I would be in prison for child abuse if I ever was to even think about using those methods in a child care facility. CPI, TCI, FTM and Boys-town all teach excellent re-direction and how to calmly deal with aggressive and defiant behaviors. Although they all differ in some areas, the one area they all agree on is at no time should you ever get in a power struggle. Ever.

I am often reminded of what an HP once told me. He said “Most of these kids have little or no family, a dim outlook on their own existence, and a desperate survivor mentality. You have a ministry, a family to go home to every night and friends to visit when your off. Which of you has nothing to lose? Which one of you will ultimatley win the power struggle?”.  

The more I am able to stay calm and steady, the more effective I am at helping a kid work thru a negative behavior. The better I become at not taking every thing a kid says or does personally, the more professional I become. All this comes out to benefit the kid in the long run, and my stomache ulcer seems to be a little nicer to me.

We all have lost our tempers with a kid before and responded in a way that escalated a conflict or disagreement with them rather than de-escalate and calm. Many times that is the exact behavior the kid is trying to get from us, either consciously or subconsciously. The only cure for that response is to rely on your training, the program and your collective experience as a team. 

Dictating your will to a kid has never produced long lasting results. And it can’t for one reason, genuine behavioral change is a result of a change of heart. Some HP’s choose to run their house with an iron fist, others run their house as a collaborative effort by empowering the kids to make decisions and choosing between right and wrong. 

Personally the whole power struggle thing has never really worked for me. I never have seen any benefits from it and it really just makes everyone cranky. And I definitly can’t be having any bad karma about me. -Launch

Christmas is Over, Summer Begins!

Yesterday was my favorite day of the year, the official end of the Holiday season.  We got all the Christmas decorations packed up and carefully stored in the attic where they will stay for the next 10 1/2 months.  I looked around at my uncluttered, clean looking cottage, and with a sigh of relief started looking forward to Monday, the first day of school in 2008.

To celebrate the occasion everybody took a small portion of their Christmas cash and pitched in for delivery pizza.  After the pizza arrived we all sat down to enjoy it and engage in some dinner conversation.  It went really well at first, but then………….

Before even a micron of dust can settle on the freshly stored Christmas decorations.  Before the children have had the opportunity to destroy or lose even half of the toys they received for Christmas.  Before they have gone back to school from Christmas vacation, they start asking us about “Summer Camp“.