Nothing equals brutal happiness like having a family and taking care of kids. There is joy, anger, sadness, and pure WTF moments. I technically have nine boys. They are all middle school and high school…. Now before you think that I was a very buy young woman… please know that none of those boys are mine. I have no children of my own. I work for an organization called Mooseheart. I am a live in family teacher…. for those of you not up on the “Mooseheart Speak” that basically means that I live in the home with the kids. All of the kids come for ‘at risk’ backgrounds. I spend my days taking care of them, helping them with their studies, taking them to doctors appointment, and teaching them family values, social skills, academic skills, and independent living skills. I work 24 hours a day 5 days a week…. and my job is a rewarding one…. though, like any job, it has its pros and cons, and its ups and downs.
So I would say that out of everything…. the most brutal part of my job comes at dinner time. Feeding nine preteens and teenagers takes a lot of work. For more complicated meals I have to start cooking around 3:00 if not earlier. They eat a TON of food, and there are days that it feels like they have bottomless pits for stomachs. Most of the time the love what I make for dinner…. but there are times when they come home after I have been cooking for hours and I hear… “Uh…. What is that smell???” At that point I see red! and I have to keep myself from getting angry! At that point they earn a consequence for not showing sensitivity to others. Some of you may be like “What!? How do you do that!!!???” Mooseheart lingo makes it all possible. There are a total of 182 skills we try to teach the kids. From following instructions to how to answer the telephone. When they do something right they earn points which allows them to buy privileges.. like video game time. When they do something wrong they loose points. So a teaching interactions for showing sensitivity to others would go something like this…. “Hey…Joe… I understand that maybe you find the smell of dinner unpleasant… but right now you are not showing sensitivity to others because you did not take my feelings into consideration before you criticized dinner. For not showing sensitivity to others you have earned -6,000 points. Its Important to show sensitivity to others so in the future they will consider your feelings…. Does that make sense?” So that is how we teach the kids in Mooseheart land.! Anyhow…. back to eating… They eat… Tons.
Tonight we had lasagna and salad with chicken. This was an instance where they loved dinner and ate all of it.! Which makes me happy since I cooked for hours! So though making dinner for nine boys is a brutal job…. someone has to do it…. and the smiles and laughter we have over meals definitely makes it worth it!