This morning, I was reminded why I am pursuing a career in counseling. And I have The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton to thank for that.
Today, Her Royal Highness is Guest Editor for the Huffington Post UK to emphasize the launch of the Young Minds Matter series. The series is “designed to lead the conversation with children about mental and emotional health, so youngsters feel loved, valued and understood.”
Loved, valued, understood.
Those three words bring tears to my eyes.
Duchess Kate says in her article,
“…many children – even those younger than five – have to deal with complex problems without the emotional resilience, language or confidence to ask for help. And…with mental health problems still being such a taboo, many adults are often too afraid to ask for help for the children in their care.”
What a sad reality children have faced without even knowing it. And how deeply unfortunate it is that, for so long, people have felt barred from seeking help solely because the world says, “You’re not worth helping.”
It is no wonder that when we get older, we become hard-hearted. We become fearful and untrusting. We become expert contractors to the building of our own internal walls. And for the ones whose minds are frail, they are told to bury their issues. But what happens to something you bury? It lingers. And oftentimes, it grows.
As adults, we can be very crafty about hiding our pain, which is detrimental to our own well-being, as well as those we love. But do children carry out this purposeful hiding?
An elevated temper can be defused, attributed to childishness, but embers remain. A ball of energy can be asked to calm down, attributed to lack of control, but it will not stay cooped up for long. A quiet mouth can be told to speak up, attributed to shyness, but a loud conversation goes on inside that little head.
Perhaps it is not purposeful. Perhaps it is because the people who are called to care for them are missing cues, cues they don’t even know to look for. Perhaps it is a result of unknown words or a nonexistent safe space to allow a child to be expressive, to heal, to become more fully him or herself.
“We know there is no shame in a young child struggling with their emotions or suffering from a mental illness…Together, we have the chance to make a real difference for an entire generation of young children.” –Duchess Kate
As of now, I plan to get my counseling degree in hopes of becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor with a focus on the younger population. They need us, and I am so thankful for the people who are willing to create safe spaces, start conversations and advocate for the least among us.
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” — Luke 9:48
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