But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13
I’ll be perfectly honest with you, I used to have a tendency to look at the world and the human experience not through the lens of Paul in his letter to the Church in Thesslonika. His words were edifying and full of hope. The lens I once saw the world through could only be seen as a place of inconsolable mourning.
But in this God-breathed passage of scripture we are given a different view of the world – a different reality full of sweetness and delight. Even though we know that we are surrounded by darkness, we have been chosen to be the firstfruits called to make a difference in the lives of our children and their caregivers because we responded to a call. If we are a peculiar people, then it is because we have been given the truth that no child is bad or irredeemable. Rather, we have come to know that with the right amount of nurturing and compassion and skill, any child has potential. And for that matter, the same holds true for adults.
I am grateful to have been chosen for this labor that glorifies God. I am grateful that I was given the remarkable opportunity to be part of a powerful God-given ministry that inspired the life of Karyn Purvis, and I am grateful to be part of the firstfruits of God’s grace, mercy, and peace.
Ειρήνη του Θεού να είναι μαζί σας;
God’s peace be with you!
Hawley, is about sixteen miles north of Abilene, Texas and is populated by 640 souls. Yet because of its close proximity to its large neighboring big brother, this small American town is facing big town challenges. The population of foster children in Region 2 where both Abilene and Hawley are located has grown astronomically. Part of this growth could be attributed to the downturn of the oil industry. However, the area also houses two of Texas largest detention units; the Middleton and Robinson Units which have increased the number of families in crisis in the area.
Additionally, the ratio of children removed and placed into conservatorship and the number of foster families willing and able to take them in is highly disproportional on the negative side. There just isn’t enough beds for these children and often sibling groups must be separated.
To face the challenge, the Hawley Independent School District will introduce its teachers, school counselors, school social workers and caregivers to Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) as a proactive move to help meet the needs of their children who have come from hard places. There will be six hour-long sessions. Additionally a closed membership chat group will be opened to provide participants the opportunity to continue discussions on how they can implement TBRI in their schools.
I believe many of you who are reading this blog will agree that we have a crisis that is placing more and more people into the criminal justice system. It would also be difficult to argue that with the deterioration of the family, our caregivers are in great need of parenting skills and our educators should serve as an adjunct of what is taught at home. Currently, there is a dearth of parent training which has led to the climbing rate of abuse and neglect resulting in children removed and placed into the foster care system. Added to the problem is the omnipresent proliferation of drugs.
I believe the answer to our societal woes are our schools and faith-based organizations. It is these two institutions where families and children in particular can be in a safe place for growth and development. This is why I am so grateful that Hawley ISD and Davis Elementary School in Carrollton, Texas have taken the initiative to bring TBRI into their classrooms.
Call me an optimist, but having been a Child Protective Services Caseworker, and having worked with offenders in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice detention Units – I have personally witnessed some great movement to the positive that just does not get reported. So wherever you are my fellow TBRI Practitioners, know that you will definitely be part of the solution to what seems to be an interminable crisis.
According to the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development, Trust-Based Relational Intervention or TBRI is:
“An Attachment-based, trauma-informed intervention that is designed to meet the complex needs of vulnerable children. TBRI uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors.”
Yes, it is directed to children who come from hard places, but I am finding in my practice that is very impactful for adults whom as children were traumatized which led them into a life of crime and violence. These are the men and women I work with. TBRI helps them understand their behaviors and most importantly, can help them change their behaviors, addictive and otherwise so they can realize their full potential in their lives and in the lives of their families. One of the goals of TBRI is to help give voice to a child to express need. I have found this to be true with the parolees I work with. These are adults many of them incarcerated for years, who have had few opportunities to give voice to their pain. This is one of many reasons for their maladaptive behavior. Once given voice, the possibility of healing and rehabilitation is real.
With all the blogs out there on innovating parenting ideas, why did I come up with this blog? The answer is simple. I made some real mistakes raising my two girls when I was a single dad serving in the United States Air Force during wartime. I knew neither how to parent nor how to respond to my children acting out their fears and anxiety. So later in my life – I should say much later in my life, with my girls grown and living their lives as productive, healthy adults – I decided to find out what happened during my very difficult parenting experience.
I earned my graduate degree which provided me with the knowledge to be a Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. But with all that education, I still was lacking in how to take this knowledge and help parents work with children who experienced trauma in their lives. There was one very important piece of the puzzle that was still missing. I found it through the Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development. More specifically, I was captivated by the joint work of Drs. Karyn Purvis and David Cross, authors of The Connected Child. I was so captivated by the outcome of their many years of work on Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) that with training in its methodologies I eventually became a TBRI Practitioner.
As an independent contractor, I am now using TBRI principles not only to help parents of children that have experienced trauma, but with parolees from our state penal system. People, IT WORKS! This is why I decided to start this blog – to provide you with tips and more importantly, with the real hope that our families can discover, perhaps for the first time, there is a way to help our children with their behavioral issues and to better understand as adults our own issues and how they came to be. So let’s get started!