Feeling Safe is a brief reflection on the joy one feels when working with children and receiving the best possible feedback. This piece was written in 2008.
One of the groups I facilitate (now formally, as I’m retired!) as part of my work as the Youth Advocate for the Town of Dartmouth met earlier today. This particular group was for children in grades two and three. Our weekly topic was “Keeping Me Safe,” in which we discuss various aspects of personal, physical and emotional safety and how to know when things don’t feel right.
We discussed “good touch and bad touch,“the bathing suit rule” and who to go to for help if needed. We discussed how “good touch” and “feeling safe” feels, and how to know the difference. Using markers, crayons and paper children sprawled out on the floor and drew images of the people they trust and listed their names in a column at the edge of the paper. At the end of our session, children went over their drawings and shared why they felt the way they did about each person.
Part-way through our little exercise, a second grade girl put down her markers and crawled directly in front of me, hopped into my lap and leaned against my shoulder and said, “I feel safe with you, Kevin.” That, more than anything else in all the world, is the greatest honor and sacred trust one could ever receive. I just felt like savoring the moment and committing it to words for some of you to also enjoy reading.