One of the things I look forward to every week is our mens bible study. We have a rather odd time for it, 9-pm every Monday and we sometimes stay until 1 or 2-am kicking it.
There is always a bible study and we cover many great topics that we face as men and as HP’s. And even though there is not a deck of cards anywhere in the vicinity, it has developed into our version of poker night, boys night out if you will. It’s our chance to get together with other guy’s and be- guys.
This past week I was reminded of how awesome it is to work at this facility with the group of HP’s that are here. I would venture to say that the majority of HP’s at other child care facilities do not communicate on a regular basis as much as we do here. Understandably, after most people tuck the kids in there is still a stack of paperwork to fill out before collapsing in your own bed.
I have found though that the more I am able to talk and hang with a group of guys that are involved in the same ministry, I am strengthened and validated as to who I am and what I’m doing. Couples groups are great, but if your a guy, sometimes you just need to leave the wife behind and hang with the boys.
We had some issues at first with the mens group and some of the wives feeling left out. We encouraged them to start their own study and to leave us alone. Thankfully they have done just that and we are back to being able to gather as the mighty men we are. Some of us have a curfew, but we still enjoy the freedom to talk with the fellow bros that we get.
All of this has strengthened us spiritually. Without wives being present we can talk about issues that affect us as men. Past subjects have included pornography, masturbation, Death, eternal salvation and the various roles of men being the spiritual leader of the family. Most if not all of these subjects would have been impossible to talk openly and freely about if our wives would have been sitting right beside us. It has also created an atmosphere of trust, accountability and understanding from others who can relate.
Three years ago I stumbled across the House Parent Network while looking for a way to get out of the Hell-Hole facility I was in. I stayed active on the network because I found place where people understood what I went through on a daily basis. Most people on the outside of this profession will look at your house as just a large blended family, you are the babysitter. The truth is you end knowing just as much, if not more, about child psychology, psycho-tropic meds and behaviors than most psychiatrists. You learn to live in a Bi-Polar environment where moods and temperaments can change in a second without warning.
It is important to stay connected to other HP’s and to create those friendships that will help you get thru a day that not many other people can relate with. The Network and the Mens group at my facility is my life-line for being able to maintain a balance in my life.
It’s also the most fun you can have sober at 2am at the local waffle house. -Launch