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In over my head/could use some guidance w/teenager

Monday, October 03, 2011

I agreed to be a mentor for a friend's son who is attending a challenge program run by the National Guard. He's had some run ins with the law with pot, theft, car theft (from family members) and school. With a couple of strikes against him, it was back to juvenile detention or this program.

There was no doubt this program was going to be tough as anything for him. 22.5 weeks. But when he finishes, he'll have his GED, and with 15 hours of college classes, he'll be able to get into the Navy at 17.

So, I agreed to this. The mentor had to be a non family member who cares about the kid. I've known him since right after he was born. His mom and I used to work together years ago, and have remained friends since. She had been married to his dad, but he was abusive, they divorced and she has since remarried and has two younger kids.

Unfortunately, I think he learned some bad habits from his dad - specifically the pot smoking and abuse. Recently, he actually assaulted his mom, the police were called, and he almost did not make it to the program.

The current husband has made it clear that he is no longer welcome in the house with the two small kids. I can't blame him based upon the assault.

But, you know how there are two sides to every story. Since I took on this role in July, I am seeing a fuller picture. I'm feeling like it's not just the ex-husband/father.

There's a family day coming up in four weeks. It will be the first opportunity to see him since the program officially started (last week). My friend and her current husband have season college football tickets, so are planning to go early and leave before lunch to make the game. There's a similar plan for Thanksgiving Saturday.

And, yesterday, I spent a half an hour with him and his counselor on the phone as he plead his case to leave the program. It was gut wrenching. But, it was me on the phone because the current husband will not let her talk to him because of the abuse. And, they have told him point blank that he is no longer welcome in their house. The counselor was trying to get the father, but he would not pick up the phone.

I agreed to be a mentor. And, I am trying my best. I've written him a few times, I spent a day away from my own family for training. Hell, I have even looked like the geek by sending him the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling. But, I was expecting to be backup to the two families. Not the primary point of contact.

And, I really don't know what to do if he does ultimately leave. While I want desperately to see him succeed, I, selfishly, do not want to impact my own family dynamic more than I already have. I cannot have him living with me.

I am at a loss. I am trying to prepare myself and prepare options for him. But, I feel like it is the family who should be doing this. But, it's almost as if they have washed their hands of the situation.

I would appreciate any thoughts you might have. If you don't have thoughts, prayers for the kids and his family would be good too.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAWNEDA 10/18/2011 12:49AM

    I agree with the others. You're not a guardian, you're a mentor. I don't know where I would be had it not been for the selflessness of not only my foster parents but my coaches and other teaches God sent into my life to keep me from totally self destructing. This young man is in a lot of pain, hurt people hurt people. Is there no other family he can reach out to for support? I'll be praying as the Holy Spirit lead. Keep sparking!

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JULJOH70 10/3/2011 2:55PM

    Here are my thoughts...

You agreed to be a mentor and have a vested interest in this child. You need to talk to his mom and dad and step dad and tell them that you want to help but that you are really discouraged with their lack of interest in their son.

Although I do believe that there are some people who can not be helped I believe most "problem" children are the result of "problem" parents. As a parent it WAS their job to make sure when these problems started to present themselves, to get him and their whole family help.

I commend you for helping him and I am sure that given enough time and support he will turn out to be a fine young man...and he will have you to thank for it.

Right now he sounds like a little boy screaming out to be loved and wanted and supported.

You have the opportunity to help turn this boys life around for the better. And his parents should be asshamed for throwing him to the wayside like garbage!

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JQUIBELL 10/3/2011 2:22PM

    It sounds like mom and dad need a wake up call.

I think you need to have a serious talk with mom and set a boundary for your support. Their has to be a clear definition and understanding as to what you are doing. You are not a replacement for his family.

She also needs to understand that HER child needs support and it's her job to be there, with or without new husband. It's all about perspective. 1 day in 5 weeks is not a lot to ask. There will be another day for football.

In my mind a mentor is meant to be a go between. As a piece of the support system. You can't do this alone, and the other players need to understand this as well. This may include talking to the counselor without kid present to fill them in on the situation.

You need to put your own family first. It's not selfish, it's common sense.
We cannot be all things to all people.

You have my sympathies, nothing about this situation sounds easy :S
Good luck!

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Absolute, positive true inspiration!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Hopefully, there is a picture showing here.

I am just getting over plantar fasciitis, so I could not run yesterday. But my 13 year old son was running yesterday, so I volunteered. I was a course monitor for the Atlanta Track Club's Cartersville 10k. I was positioned right before mile 2 and a bit after mile 4. The winner had a time just over 32 minutes. My son's time was 1:06 (his prior PR was 1:22). I was so proud of him, and what was even better was that he was so proud of himself!

But, the man in the picture above was the second to the last to finish. I couldn't get the same picture of the last man because the pick up wagon was right behind him. The guy above is 80 years old and finished in 1:41. The last guy is 85! 85! With slightly bowed legs! And he finished just over 1:43.

For all of us on Sparkpeople trying to get healthy - these two guys should be our posterchildren (children - that's funny!) for inspiration.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAWNEDA 10/18/2011 12:32AM

    You're gonna be one of them. You're doing better than you think you are. Keep sparking!

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CBAILEYC 10/2/2011 12:55PM

    That's one of the things Coach Nancy has said before.. do you want a once-in-a-lifetime run, or to run for a lifetime? These "children" are living it!
Thanks for sharing.

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The Clash song that defined me

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm not recently overweight. It's been my entire life with a few, fleeting periods of being closer to normal, but still overweight. I have never been a healthy weight. I am working on getting there and plan to stay there once I do.

This blog was triggered by me adding a sparkfriend. Like me, he is 46, wants to lose 80-ish pounds, and has low self-esteem. And, it made me wonder is he's been overweight as long as I have, which made me think back to when I was much younger. I wrote about "High School Skinny" before, which I never was. But, much of my self image was shaped back in high school, and honestly, it was shaped by one song.

The Leader by The Clash - and it's one line in the song that did it -

"Now the girl let the fat man touch her, vodka fumes and the feel of a vulture."

How pathetic is it that one line in a Clash song from 1980 that was never really popular here in the United States could have such an impact on me? But, that's what did it. I have been the fat man all my life.

I am going to have to break out of that - first physically, then mentally.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAWNEDA 9/19/2011 10:01PM

    Tim, if you evict the fat man mentally, you'll never be him physically again! You're more than the lyric in a former semi popular rock song. You're a really cool dude and you are more than able to do this. Have you heard the spark song by SP success story and back up singer to Beyonce Tiffany? It helps me so much and it is so positive. I challenge you to pick a new theme song for yourself that you listen to every time the tune of the old one tries to play. You'll kick that fat man out in no time. The truth is you're not a fat man, you're a man with some fat stored up to fuel his new healthy lifestyle (that is how I look at myself now, FWIW.) Hope this helps. You ran a half marathon, you're a rock star as far as I'm concerned. YOU.CAN.DO.THIS. Keep sparking!

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Actually a little psyched for the doctor tomorrow

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomorrow, it will be a month since my "Come to Jesus" talk with the doctor who basically said change your diet, lower your cholesterol or you are in deep s$%t.

I have been completely committed on the diet side and still have to find the time to step up the exercise (because I am only getting in about 100-120 minutes a week). But, I have been committed. And, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, I think it was a real turning point for me. Get healthy or die. Is there really a choice?

I haven't entered my weight in a month because I want to be consistent with the doctor's scale. And, while I haven't seen Biggest Loser type numbers, I am down a good bit.

So I am looking forward to getting my cholesterol tested - to see if the oatmeal and almonds and soy and psyllium caplets and beans and blueberries and all of the other little changes that I have made are starting to pay off.

I am telling you - I will be off the cholesterol drug. I will be off the high blood pressure drug. I will continue to improve my health. I will get to a healthy weight. I will wear a "Large" shirt. I will at least make it nearly 30 years to my 75th birthday will I will be a healthy old man walking the Bermuda Walking Marathon with my wife, my kids and my kids families (if they choose to have them).

I guess I am psyched!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAWNEDA 9/19/2011 12:37AM

    Life changes, slow and steady win the race. You're doing great. Keep sparking!

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    Good luck! I'm sure your hard work will pay off!!! And I heard in one of my nutrition classes that dietary changes can sometimes take 2-3 (or even up to 6 months) to show their full effects on your bloodwork numbers. So, don't be discouraged if it takes a little while - you can do it!

PS - looooove your background photo - where is that?

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PIXIEMOM13 9/14/2011 12:49PM

    Good luck!

Its nice to not have to dread doctor's visits when you KNOW you are making good choices. emoticon

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CBAILEYC 9/14/2011 10:55AM

    Can't wait to for the debriefing to find out how you're doing. Nothing like feeling confident when facing as MD!
emoticon emoticon

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LYRICCA 9/14/2011 10:51AM

    Neat! Good for you!!

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GONEWLIFE 9/14/2011 10:49AM

    Good for you ! Good luck with the DR !

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"Winning" a free breakfast for the office from Costco

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The "winning" is in quotes because of the temptation/struggle brewing in me right now.

You drop the business card and win a free continental breakfast from Costco and lo and behold, I did. It's really just their angle at getting leads for corporate accounts, but all the same, I love Costco, and they were bringing free breakfast.

So, their are dozens of muffins (some looking like apple fritters, all looking delicious) and croissants and cinnabon type goodies. And, if you know Costco, they are Costco sized - huge. And, there are a few gallons of OJ, and a case or two of Yoplaits and a few bunches of bananas.

I knew it was coming. I ate my oatmeal with dried blueberries to try to avoid temptation. And, so far, I have. To participate, I did have a Yoplait (which was not the reduced fat kind but the 170 calorie kind which, as it turns out, tastes so much better than the 100 calorie low fat kind) and I grabbed a banana for later. But, I tell you, as I grabbed that banana, the icing oozing off the cinnabons and the smell of the muffins were completely intoxicating.

I am in a battle of wills right now. But it is me vs. me. One of us is going to win out.

I want it but don't need it. If it weren't there, I wouldn't want it. I am fairly confident the "want to be healthy" me will win this battle. But, I know one thing, I am keeping my business card out of those fishbowls in the future unless it is for some non-food item. I want to avoid the temptation.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHAWNEDA 9/2/2011 2:15PM

    I don't eat the 100 calorie Yoplait because of the ingredients so I spend 170 calories on my yogurt each time I partake of it. Compared to the other choices that is a great selection. Congrats!

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