Assumption (noun). A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.
Assumptions can save your life. When I stood (safely) on the banks of Niagara Falls, I didn’t need to see someone roll down the Falls in a barrel to assume I would be seriously injured if I tried doing that. A side note. Seeing that powerful waterfall was incredible and I highly recommend a visit to this iconic site.
Assumptions can stunt your life. All of us have hesitated to make a change, put off helping others, lived in fear of the unknown, passed on a different career and stayed safely on the couch because of assumptions. Conversely, it is very savvy to gather information. It is very savvy to discuss life opportunities with trusted friends and family members. It is very savvy to do your homework. Assuming a negative result before doing your homework is not savvy and can be life stunting.
Every week I am blessed to meet amazing families with infants and toddlers. Every family has a unique story, a unique set of circumstances. Because I am human, I take the small amount of information given to me by a referral source and I make assumptions. In the 12 years I have been doing this work I have discovered how damaging assumptions can be. So, I am learning to pause. Ask questions. Listen. Process.
At Nurturing Newborns, we have the opportunity to provide respite for families in great need. When I share basic family information with my respite manager, (bless her-she is the best at “unassuming”) we have a mantra. “It’s never just one thing”.
Yes, we know the family lives below the poverty line. Yes, we know this is a single parent household. Yes, we know the baby is a preemie and on oxygen. Yes, we know that there are other children in the home.
Here’s what we didn’t know. This single mom also cares for an elderly grandparent in the home. We didn’t know that the father of the baby is incarcerated. We didn’t know that one of the older children has autism. We didn’t know that the family car needs repairs. We didn’t know. We assumed it was “just one thing”. We needed to see the big picture.
As a team, Nurturing Newborns, LLC discusses all these “things” that this single mom faces each day. We work together to create a plan of support that is unassuming and flexible. We work together with other community support systems to help this single mom take a breath and move forward. We don’t assume that this family will fall in a heap when we have completed our respite care services. We support the family “in the moment” which is the only way this mom has survived her entire life.
What a gift these families are to me! The world looks so different now. I am more courageous. I am hopeful. I am more calm and thoughtful of others. I am also human, so please don’t assume I am courageous, hopeful, calm and thoughtful all the time. I am still a work in progress.