by Calvin R. “Cal” Towler, MA, LMFT
During our country’s withering stay-at-home masked season, I’ve been thinking about children who haven’t been able to go to school—venture outside—or spend play time with their friends.
Decades ago, while standing in my office at the children’s home, I became aware a little person had wrapped his or her arms around my right leg. Glancing down, I found myself looking straight into the big trusting eyes of a delightful little girl. It was a precious moment. Memories came flooding back to a time when our own little girls did the same thing. I warmly recall them laughing and standing on my boot; and holding tight—as I clomped around the room.
Once we have been touched by a trusting little child, it is impossible to forget the sweetness of the moment. I’m certainly not able to forget the touch of that lovable little girl: she captured my heart! Her trust and complete openness touched my life. You may have some questions about the circumstances of this warm encounter; her identity—and where she may be now.
I can’t tell you much about her; except that she was no longer able to live with her parents. She was a very little girl living in a big, frightening world. There are many little ones much like her. Some are bigger and some are smaller. Some touch adults with trust; and others hang back in fear and confusion. I can tell you, that they all need the nurture and safety of a loving family.
I think that many little children and teens are having serious trouble locating the North Star. They’ve been cloistered inside their homes far too long. We must help them go outside, and play and laugh again, and help them to reconstruct their normal lives and social development.
While visiting a well-endowed Deep South boy’s home, I listened as the director bragged about his sparkling clean campus, telling us how the boys loved to work and get all sweaty. I thought, uh huh, they would like to be at the creek, getting their feet all wet, and looking for polliwogs. Some of what the director said is true: boys like to work hard and feel like men! They also like to feel like Tom Sawyer; do adventuresome things, wade in streams; climb trees—and the like.
All ‘God’s Children,’ big and small, are nourished by the sunshine, croaking frogs, buzzing bees and singing birds! But, these don’t live in cloistered places; and certainly not in the present flat-screen virtual world. Thus, the little ones of every color, creed and culture, in big cities, small country villages and towns; must look to us larger folks to feed them well, keep them safe in this changing world, fire up the backyard BBQ now and then, and go outside and play.
Blessings on you and your little ones...
Calvin R. “Cal” Towler, MS, LMFT spent fifty years ministering in churches, working in county welfare departments, being a social work and clinical director in non-profit residential children’s homes, developing the first example of real-time social service software, consulting, mentoring, broadcasting, counseling, building a recording studio, and being its recording engineer.
He is the author of the Relationship Impact Model. He claims to be "a bit off center" in how he approaches the daily task of working with injured folks. He can best illustrate this by sharing a frustration that one of his social workers harbored. Angered by Cal's low-key playful solution he offered her one day, she said, “You think everything can be solved with play!” To which he responded, “You’re absolutely right.” To hear more from Cal, find him on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/calvin.towler