I received a MySpace message from a boy, age 16, who asked me to check his MySpace Profile and read what he had recently posted. He was naming his heroes, and he was naming me as his first hero in a world of limitless choices. I was honored for sure and somewhat embarrassed, too. After all, I’m
his counselor, and I see him weekly, so it’s not too hard to understand, especially when you factor in that I’ve known him now for over five years. All things considered he survives reasonably well in a turbulent sea of two parents, one alcoholic, and another who could give two shits whether he lives or dies. That assessment sounds harsh, I know. But unfortunately, it fits.
Anyone who works with children and teens…if you truly like your work and respect them for who they are… has youngsters who rank you right up there with Taco Bell and Hannah Montana. Even when you have to be the “agent of reality” and set limits or call them on their stuff, they sometimes love you even more. Strange how that happens. (Well, not really, as there’s a whole theory about why this happens, which is rather boring and best left for someone else to cover.)
Several months ago I was left speechless by a comment made by a girl in our group who said to me, “Kevin, so many kids [meaning in school] love you, it’s insane.” She meant that as a compliment. Her comment though caught me so off balance that all I could do was playfully respond with, “That’s because I pay them to say that!”
But being considered someone’s hero is perhaps the greatest reward, and award, that anyone could ever receive. It makes the turtle-pace of progress in counseling worthwhile, or the times I wake up far too early wondering how this teen or that child is doing with hardships and challenges.
I hope and pray that I am always worthy of being someone’s hero, and never expect it, either.