CAN YOU STAY CALM WHEN CRISIS COMES?  That is one of my major strengths.

Topic #215: What is a strength you have that you haven’t used? Recently? Maybe a secret skill, or perhaps an ability that only surfaces under tough times?  Mine is I am very good in a crisis and that has served me well in my career as a social worker.  My longest held job was as the director of a mental health crisis team in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx.  I retired two years ago and happy my crisis  skills no longer need daily exercising.

I realized my strength in a crisis first time when I was 20.  I was a camp counselor and  a riding instructor.  I was in the barn doling out the lunch for the horses,  when a rider-less horse came trotting.  Bad news.

Most falls do not end in broken bones.  This one did.  When I got to the girl, she was sitting on the ground, cradling her arm.    She was crying, “It’s broken, it’s broken.”  and trying to get up.

Two counselors were staring down  at her, one was saying “No, it’s not.”  Liar, liar.  The Riding Director was on her day off, I was in charge and suddenly I morphed into a cool and calm  boss.

“Oh yes it is,”  I said and began issuing orders.  A part of me I didn’t know existed surfaced.  I sent one instructor to call the office and get the nurse and a car down here, our girl had to go to the hospital.  The other to get the other campers off their horses,  away from the scene, get the horses unbridled and into their stalls.   I sat next to the girl, showed her how to use her good arm to support her broken wrist and told her what would be happening.   Told her about my once–broken wrist–also from a fall.  She giggled when I told her I went over a fence and the horse stayed behind.  The camp director and nurse arrived and whisked the girl off to the local emergency room.  I made sure the horses had been properly tended to , sent the other counselors off to lunch and collapsed.

I had found my strength and a calling.

Share, care, and stay strong

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