i work part time as a behavior therapist with kids with autism and down's syndrome.
i just took the job because it was offered and i needed one... but i have been learning so much in the process. here are some of the things i have learned about myself, about God, about kids and about the world... its been pretty cool.
*some things are innate [just like God made it to be]. there is a girl in one of the classrooms i work in, we'll call her anna [not her real name]. anna is pretty mild mannered and i would guess that she has a moderate developmental disability, possibly retardation, but i don't know that as a fact. she is non-verbal and fairly low functioning. however, every day, anna wants to help out with the kids in the wheel chairs, pushing them, stroking them on the head, cleaning up their spit. its been a reminder to me of how God gives us natures- men and women- that are in line with what he created us for. anna can't do a lot of school work, but she has an innate desire to care for others that are even lower functioning than herself, to mother them. and i think that's pretty cool. :)
*another belief i have about how God created the world is that we are born a sin nature, meaning that from the time we are born, we desire to do what is contrary to God's nature. i find it interesting that many of the kids i work with have pretty extreme negative behaviors, but few (if any) extreme positive behaviors. i have kids that will hit and pull hair and yell and cry, but none that hug too much or are overly compliant or ask me frequently (or ever) how they can help out. their behaviors are selfish, and self-centered. now dont get me wrong, i absolutely love the kids i work with, but its hard not to notice that they tend towards sin, and only play by the rules when they absolutely have to.
*i am more patient (at times) than i thought i could be. i have sat without flinching while being hit, pinched, choked, and having my hair pulled out. probably good practice for motherhood.
*investing into young lives is exciting and rewarding. but it will be even more exciting and even more rewarding when they are my own, and the investment i make will play out for a lifetime.
*one thing i think about a lot is how i treat God like these kids treat me. one girl i work with stomps her foot and sometimes hits me when i make her wear her glasses. all the kids i work with get upset when i make them do school work. another girl i work with gets upset when i make her use her sign language to communicate. all of these things are for their good, but you would think i was torturing them. however, i know that i do the same with God, when he it trying to teach me, mold me, grow me and love me.
the job is hard in many ways, but i am excited that God is allowing me to do it for this season of life.