Here at Franciscan we have an intervention program for students caught drinking under age. The student is mandated to meet with a “Mentor” for four sessions. The mentor is a Counseling student such as myself, whose job is to assess where the student is at as far as alcohol abuse goes. Depending on what they find, they may spend those four sessions any number of ways. If the student has a problem with alcohol, then it can be addressed. If not, then I find myself in a much more pastoral role. They can spend their sessions shooting the breeze or discussing other problems in their lives. Or eating s’mores.
As much as s’mores are good things, I personally would like to give my students “s’more” of myself, or a learning experience of some kind. I want to give them a gift that they can accept or reject or do with as they please. I start by asking, “What do you want from life?” They will tell me what they think they want. Sometimes, it’s a list of things. Sometimes, it’s a long “Ummm” and a delayed list. Then I’ll ask “Why do you want those things? How are you going to get them?” I want to see that they have a plan. How can you achieve your dream if you don’t know how to get there?
Squints knows what he wants, and exactly how he’s going to get it.
You see, everything that everyone has ever told me what they wanted out of life was because they believed those things would make them happy. Often times we humans lose track of what will actually make us happy, and we spend so much time and energy chasing things we know will not make us happy. We chase a virtual social life, sports, other people, or really anything at all. And to some degree many of these things bring us some happiness, if momentary. But the way to find those things that have the most meaning to us, and will bring us the most fulfillment we can find, take vision, take hard work. The people who achieve their dreams do so because they keep their eye on the ball.
If I can give someone nothing else, I can at least give them this: Have the courage to follow your dreams. Sometimes that is all a pastoral counseling relationship is about.