When I was 11 years old, I was watching a television program about a child who had been abused. That child was talking with an adult, likely a social worker, though I was not familiar with the term at the time. I knew right then that I wanted to do what that woman was doing. I wanted to help children, but I had no idea what that would look like. When I went to college, I started as a psychology major. Psychology was the only field I was aware of that would get me to my goal. At my university the psychology degree was very research based. As I began studying in that field, it just didn’t fit. I went to see my college advisor and she said, “Describe to me what you want to do.” After I told her, she said, “It sounds to me like you want to do social work.” To which I answered, “What’s that?”
She sent me to the social work department at the university to meet with the dean. After talking with the dean, I knew that this was the right fit. As I continued in my studies, often when I would tell others what I was studying, they would make a face or comment on how little money I would make in that field. Those things didn’t matter to me. I just knew that God had called me to help people and social work was the best way for me to do that.
Over the years, I have worked for child protective services, community development, therapeutic foster care, adoption, and I even did a short stint in hospice. I have gained a lot of experience and dealt with some extremely difficult situations, but I have never regretted my decision to pursue social work. Social work is not easy. It is often a thankless job with low pay, high caseloads, and high stress. If you know a social worker, take the time to thank her or honor her this month (Social Work Month). Let her know that she is appreciated.
In my very first social work job after college, I attended a training where the person instructed all of the attendees to begin a “warm fuzzy file”. She said that we would have discouraging days and we would need to keep reminders of all of our good days. I took her advice, and I have traveled from job to job with that file. I now have a Masters in Social Work and have been working in the field for 21 years. My “warm fuzzy file” is stuffed to overflowing, and I am so grateful for that trainer’s advice. Whenever I am feeling discouraged, I pull it out and read notes and look at photos. It helps me to continue and not give up.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9