This story my friend Marianne tells reminds me that there are many hurting people in this world.
A troubled teen came in to the Children's Dept. to talk to me, to catch
up on what we both have been doing this summer, to pick up the books she
ordered. She kept pushing the books around on our desk so that I could
glimpse the titles. I asked her what she was reading and she prominently
displayed a novel about suicide and another novel about cutting. I told
her they looked interesting. I put them back on the desk and asked her
if she was okay. She responded she was. I asked again
and also asked if she wanted to talk to me privately in our workroom
without anyone listening, but that the door would be open. She said she
was okay. She told me her friends told her she should read these books
because they thought she would really love them. I replied that I
thought it was great that she and her friends were sharing book
experiences. I also told her to broaden her tastes a little, that a
steady diet of dark depressive literature had a negative effect on most
people, and that perhaps she could balance her reading with some of the
uplifting books we had to achieve a balance. This girl loves food, so I
told her that a steady diet of chocolate cake, while initially
scrumptious, would harm our bodies in so many ways. Too much of anything
is unhealthy, even too much spinach, too much dairy, too much protein.
Our minds are like our bodies. Too much of anything harms them. I told
her to let me know what she thought of the two books the next time she
Her response, "Friday okay with you, Ms. B? Will you be
here next Friday?"
I put it on my calendar. A woman was listening
nearby. When the teen left, she came to me and said, "You'd make a
wonderful social worker. Think about it!" I smiled and said I was happy
in my present job. She repeated, "You'd make a wonderful social worker.
The field needs people like you. I can say this because I AM a social