Sunday, November 14, 2010

I can't understand

I was recently talking to a family member about some of the things we see as social workers. One of the dynamics I observe a lot of are relationships and how powerful some can be. I remember talking to a young girl who was abused by her father throughout her life. I was describing some of the charges against her father and his reaction. Much to my surprise she started crying even weeping. She said something I will never forget... "Eric no matter how bad he hurt me he will always be my dad"

It hit me like a truck. How can a bond be so strong after such injustice? How can love go so deep with out a real relationship? I continued to be amazed by the the power parents have over their children and how often that power can be abused and misused. To see a son who has been hurt and disappointed by his mom over and over continue to want to please her although she makes no attempt to help him. To see a daughter believe in every word her dad says even when it goes against what is right. To see a parent deny any wrong doing to the face of their flesh and blood even sending their children into police stations and court to further the abuse is just sad!

I'm not a parent but seeing the power of these relationships reminds me of what a huge responsibility it will be! Just remember... your kids watch your every move and trust you until you break it.

Final thought. I had a parent complain... "How can I have this kid (me) tell me how to parent when he has no kids, he's arrogant." Another parent said, "Eric have you ever seen super nanny? Your job reminds me of that because you help people learn how to be a family who have never learned" I guess my job can only be successful depending on what the family wants to gain from their experience. It sure is nice when we all work together! :)

Livin the dream.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Its kinda weird and human nature that we always look for acceptance from others.

This something I definitely see myself doing as a social worker. "Im thinking... lady, I am here to help you. I'm on your side. I support you. Dude, Im backing you up on this." Sometimes I feel like we put ourselves out there all day. We keep our phones on way past 40 hours. Our thoughts mostly revolve around the next technique we can use to get through to one of our kids. We attempt to sit quietly while people rip into us blaming us for all the things we have done to ruin their lives. And it bugs me... I dont know about you.

Now I have heard the whole, "Gotta get tougher skin" "Dont show your emotions" "Leave it at work" but honestly I dont want any of those things. I understand we get jaded in each one of our professions but I dont ever feel the pressure to give up. It's kinda weird because I am doing exactly what I always wanted to do and I dont want to waste a minute being jaded. Doesn't mean I dont get frustrated or upset with the ignorance and stupidity of people who only consider themselves especially when they have children who hang in the balance, but I still find myself putting my self out there and pleading with them to let me help, let others help, listen to family.

Moral of the blog. Don't give up, the next one might be the one who needs you.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

drawing the line

"If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life"

When it comes to clients and social work I have yet to learn where to draw the line between home life and "work". If I knew my family would be supported I would do this work for free. I have such a deep passion for people. I'd do anything for the people I work with and I believe they know that. I surrounded myself in Kankakee with clients and their families. I want them to know they can trust in someone after losing all trust in the world. I want them to know my phone is always on and they can always call. I want them to know that God made me to work with them and I plan to do it with all my heart.

I was talking to my mentor kid last night who I developed a very close relationship with. We were talking about good times we had over the years like brothers. It reminded me of the times I laid awake at night wondering if he was safe. I thought about how hurt I was for him when his mom died while he was in jail. I remembered the countless dollar bills and piles of change I gave him out of my pockets. I just remembered why I just love my job. Because of kids like this who I have been so lucky to meet and be a part of their lives that keeps me going.

Through all of this I want my beautiful significant other to know that I love her too. Granted she knew what she was getting when we married. An un-medicated ADHD social work with passions bigger than any budget. She cried with me when I was hurting for my clients. She was excited with me when we got guilty verdicts. She stuck by me when I almost went crazy after being unemployed for a month. I have the same undying love and passion for her....

A executive director once told me... "Someday you will realize you can't save the world"

Well I haven't realized it yet. and I won't! I am not dumb. I know some in the world do not want to change and if I focus on them then yes... I cannot save the world. But there are lost souls out there who need to see someone who really cares about them and I can think of 30 BSW students I graduated with a few years ago who care....

Start the movement. Give a little. Change a life.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

shut my mouth.

I was told numerous times... wait no I'd say hundreds, if not millions of times in my life to shut my mouth. I remember my mom used to puff her cheeks out in church to tell me to shut my mouth, my dad just cleared his throat, my brothers punched me or got their friends to punch me, my teachers scolded me (but knew I couldnt help it), my friends just got used to it, and my poor wife... I dunno what she thinks....

I know I still annoy people with my big mouth but first I dont really care because I have matured a little bit and I try to be careful what I say. I know my mouth still gets me in trouble when I dont completely think something through. It also has helped a few people along the way. Right before leaving KC CASA my mouth fought for the two lives of victims of the justice system. My big mouth screaming and yelling got me very little respect in the office in which I yelled but got the victims their day in court. My mouth built some strong friendships and tore others down. I know my mouth was given to me for a reason... believe it or not. God created someone who couldn't shut his mouth to help fight for those who cannot speak. My big mouth kicks me in the butt sometimes and other times it has been used to help change a life with the help of a higher power to give me the words to say.

Don't waste your mouth/voice/passion/heart. Not everyone got a big mouth like me and others but you did get something to speak up for others. You might be the only voice someone ever hears, you might be the on the touch they can feel, and the only passion they can see.

Dont waste it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

perfect match

If you don't know the story of my beautiful goddaughter its on this blog somewhere...

Laura and I took JJ (goddaughter mother)on a date with us when we first started dating back in the day. I really wanted my life partner to have the same passions I did. JJ is one of those passions and Laura has seen why I love that girl so much. JJ starts ISU in two weeks and will be living in family housing with her beautiful daughter. She has family support but as far a money goes there is not much there... JJ was out of school for 2 months her junior year to have a baby and STILL graduated 13 in her class of over 500. Amazing! She deserves a fresh start at school and the opportunity to get a degree for herself and Serae. Laura and I want to see her do well and have made a comittment to help her get through the next few crucial monthsof being a freshman at college. And it truly has been great experience as a young couple! if you are interested in helping with groceries, books, furniture, anything... get me on here or fbook and we can chat! :)

livin the dream.

Monday, July 26, 2010

bringin home the bacon...

... is not something I do. As a social worker bringing home anything except a heavy heart is rare. Today at work a co worker was saying she makes more in mileage then she does in actual pay! I found it amusing because if I know mileage is available I am the first to volunteer to drive! :)

Seriously though, what do we as social workers bring home. I used to bring home a bad attitude about stupid people that liked to boss me around and accuse me of "wanting to save the world". I brought home free stuff donated by the local superstore. I should have left it there because if Wal-Mart doesn't want it... neither do you! I brought home stories, depressing news, and a lack of faith in society.

I guess its more important to ask what do I bring to my clients. Before I enjoyed just bringing a smile. A non-judgemental look. Good news about court. Now I get to bring toys, trips to Incredible Pizza (Laura doesn't like this place because she worked on a patient who got shot next door- fun sponge) I get to bring them on trips to see their parents! I get to bring my iphone 4... kids get pretty excited about the new racing game I downloaded! I bring a fresh face of hope and wishes!

Overall we can ALL bring something to work... It could be as simple as a smile!

What do you bring home from work? And what do you bring to it?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


So I've jumped right into my new job working with kids in foster care. Today I was informed of the seat belt regulations and how much a kid needs to weigh before he/she can ride without a car seat... so needless to say I was cruising down the road with a booster in the back seat. As I drove I thought again how great my jobs have been to work with kids who need good role models. I had never had a booster seat in the back... normally I am handing out belts to saggy jeans, blaring music I don't necessarily enjoy, or trying to hide my pack of gum from the pack of wolves jammed in my car.

Today I felt a new sense of responsibility... a five year old. I thought about how amazed I was to be doing this job and how bad I felt for a five year old to be taken from his/her home. I thought of all the things I worry about as an adult don't even touch the surface of being taken from your parents, siblings, and home. Here I am. Raised by amazing parents, taught in great schools, and educated by loving teachers, friends, and co-workers. Now I have the opportunity to help him in his life. WOW.

We chatted about the weather. He named my car the Silver Sponge because if I keep it clean I could sell it for 100 45 60 9 thousand dollars. He told a co-worker, after burping in her face, that he heard that when a boy burps in a girls face that means he likes her. Then he said... see you Tuesday!

I love my job.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Over the past several years I have had the honor to serve in Kankakee IL as a social worker, advocate, mentor, tutor and friend to many. My recent marriage to Laura E. Baldauff-Hoots lead me to Indianapolis. I had a job, then I didnt, so I went and found another than the first job wanted to talk about a job again. Needless to say I spent the last month unemployed and humbled.

Success in my life has been measured by clients, mentor kids, friends, and networking. If I judged success so far in Indianapolis by how I judged it in Kankakee County I would consider myself a failure! I finally realized why I needed a month off... I needed to see, again, that I cannot save lives, I cannot change paths, I cannot force my wishes on others. ONLY the individuals I work with can do make changes and I have the HONOR to help them with whatever they need through their healing process and battles!!

I sat on a lounge chair, couch, and golf cart for the last month and realized I needed to save myself... I was burnt to a crisp. Don't get me wrong... I am not complaining, but realizing how much of myself I put into my "work" aka life. The other SW peeps out there completely know what I am getting at, we are beautiful, strong, amazing, and caring people. We will never get the credit we are due for how much we care, BUT that doesn't bother us. We love what we do and the people whose lives we come in contact with are changed by what we do. I knew I had the privilege to help people, but forgot to help myself. My soul was broken, hurt, and more passionate than ever. My mind was tired, running, and fearful. My will to change the world was stronger than ever but my faith in the goodness (word?) of the world was non existent.

So the last month was a free break... something I would have never wanted but a high power knew I needed it! I start work on Monday and I am pumped. I am excited for the opportunity to work with children and develop more friendships in Indiana.

So I say all of this, to remind myself and the other people workers out there.... its ok to chill, its ok to take a break, but you better come back because we need you!