When I attended a Trauma Informed Care workshop on Friday, I discovered that I did something very right by accident just the day before.
In the morning Virtue Lauds, I was so happy to see the 5th & 6th graders after Fall Break and no lauds on Tuesday due to Picture Day, I just looked each student in the eye and smiled broadly. It was not a tactic, just the result of being so happy with being with them.
Once I started my devotional, the students were 100% with me. I did not have to compete for attention. They were just with me. Our short time went fast but was very profitable. Why?
In one of the workshops I attended they said that each person (young or old) has four questions that they want to know:
Do you see me?
Do I matter?
Am I cared for?
Am I safe?
These questions are much more intense for children who have endured trauma, but we all have the same need. I was reviewing Matthew 10:29-31 with my Sunday school class yesterday. The first time I read that verse came back to my mind. As a baby Christian, I was struck by the simplicity of this passage: God sees the sparrows, therefore He sees me. He values the sparrows, therefore He really values me. He knows the details of a sparrow’s life and the number of my hairs, therefore He has my life in His hands. I was seen, known, cared for and safe.
Until this weekend I never realized how much these truths started my healing from childhood trauma. (I wonder how many of us have had ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences?)
Most of our children have not had trauma. (However, many of our families have opened their homes to children of trauma through foster care and adoption. Thank you for the sacrifice of stepping into their world and providing safety.) However, they still have these needs.
Many of you are instinctively doing the right things with your children. You communicate these four basic needs constantly. For the rest of us, I encourage us to be more intentional to communicate all four. After Thursday’s experience, I intend to be less bothered with the details of getting into the day’s lesson as I am in letting my students know that I am glad they are with me, they matter to me and to the Lord, and to provide safety in our relating to one another.
With you in the journey, Christopher