As Stable as an Old Oak Chair

Old Oak ChairAs summer approaches, I am discovering how dirty my front porch has become – it is now time to do my spring cleaning! I found leaves left over from the season before and water marks on concrete where snow had melted.

My dog soon discovered an abandoned nest tucked securely behind the leg of our Old Oak Chair. Perhaps the nest was made by a mouse? I imagined a mouse family building it to protect each other from the sting of a Michigan winter.

It seems from the smallest of creatures to the expansiveness of man we all share two common traits: the desire to survive and the need to feel safe.

As Maslow would brilliantly describe, we cannot truly rise to our full creative potential if in the midst of the day we remain fearful of surviving. Due to the trauma associated with starvation, abuse, neglect, broken dreams and unstable relationships, our children served by Wolverine know that fear on an intimate level. The scars of childhood abuse and neglect may never be truly understood as its affects impact those exposed to its ugliness in different ways.

But this I know….when there is hope, understanding, tolerance, intervention, support and stability…people heal. People cope.

And…when feeling safe, they allow themselves to dream. They can see the future and the value that they possess as a person, a loved one, and part of the world.

Oak ChairI mention stability – I mentioned an oak chair. This chair was built by the very children I reference. It was built by those that were abandoned, abused, labeled and in many ways discarded. This chair was built by those that entered our treatment facility in Vassar, MI. I have had this chair on my porch for many years. It was built by hands that at one time were beaten, neglected, ignored, and shackled by cruelty and broken promises. But with love and understanding this chair was built by hands that no longer feared life and were able to create something strong, lasting, and beautiful.

The hands that built this chair had become as strong as the very oak it was made of.

I bought this chair set at our agency auction as a younger man 20 years ago. It is symbolic of what can be achieved when people are given opportunity to thrive.

May is National Foster Care month.

This spring, celebrate life by creating hope! Consider becoming a foster and/or adoptive parent, consider mentoring a teen. Just as the Oak tree needs water to have its roots anchored deeply – children need families and support to feel stable and to thrive.

You can reach out to our supportive and caring staff at (888) 625-8669 and to learn more about you can help bring greater stability to a child in need.

Tom KrolickiThomas Krolicki, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, is Vice President of Development and Community Based Programs at Wolverine Human Services. Tom has over 28 years of administrative and clinical service experience with a special focus in policy and program development, legislative action, and advocacy for children and families involved with Michigan’s Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Mental Health Systems. Tom is also highly invested in the development of new social workers and is a field placement advisor with several Universities and Colleges.