I have had this beautiful piece written by Justin Hubert for a long time. While I always knew it was too good to keep to myself, I struggled with the best way to put it out there. Justin is an incredible man and a beautiful writer. You will notice this post is longer than my usual ones however, I don’t care about the rules. I believe he is captivating enough to keep you here.
Thank you Justin for all you do to serve those who matter in this world.
1. To rise above or go beyond; overpass; exceed: to transcend the limits of thought; kindness; expectation
2. To outdo or exceed in excellence, elevation extent, degree, or expectation to surpass; excel
3. To be above and independent of
Meeting an overtly gregarious, happy, fun woman at an event this year to which I was a last minute invitee, turned itself – as life often does- into a pleasant supportive, relationships between two who saw themselves as peers. We had a good time. Her laugh was engaging, and we also had a good conversation regarding the struggles of parenting teenage boys. I don’t have teenage boys – but I was one, and I was able to share a unique perspective. I offered to help ward off the bids of others at the silent auction, she was blessed by my perceived generosity.
I left that evening having met the pleasant acquaintance of Shelley Streit. If you take life at a surface level, it was a random meeting between two people with little in common, and we had some drinks and a good time – we both went back to our lives.
If however you seek to look at life on a deeper level, to see what lies beyond the surface, beyond the smile, beyond a laugh. Beyond what most people choose to see, you enter a unique realm of understanding where deeper relationships are formed. Even that sentence makes us uncomfortable. But what about moving beyond comfort?
I’ll tell you what is uncomfortable.
I have heard that being sexually assaulted is “uncomfortable”
I hear, being abandoned as a child is “uncomfortable.”
I hear wanting, and never receiving (even into your adult years) the love of your mother is “uncomfortable.”
I hear being a single mom and trying to go to school is “uncomfortable.”
I hear trying to figure out how to be in a family when you don’t have a good example of one yourself is “uncomfortable.”
And, as long as we are all about living a life of comfort, we may never get the opportunity to hear about these things.
We will never hear about transcendence.
You’ll never fully hear the story of Shelley Streit.
You’ll never get to know her.
And you should.
There is a saying that has started to increasingly bother me these days:
“Kids are the problem.”
When did we start saying that? For all intensive purposes, Shelley was a “problem child” she was defiant, she was controlling, she had bad habits, she stole, she drank, she ran away. In essence she did all the “bad things” “Bad kids do.”
But can we ask the question why? If you have a toddler sitting in a room – is that toddler a problem? Ok, now what if that toddler is holding a loaded 22 caliber hand gun with the safety off. Is that toddler a problem?
The true statement is “You have a problem.” The untrue statement is “That child is a problem”
What about the baby that inadvertently grabs a steak knife off the table by the blade? Is this child “a problem” or, do you “have a problem.”
And, who’s problem is it?
Shelley didn’t choose her path. If all kids could, from a neurological perspective, choose, their circumstance, all children would live in a safe, caring environment that reduced they anxiety so they could experience a normative maturation process – paraphrase Dr. Gordon Neufeld – author of “hold on to your kids.” Shelley didn’t get that experience. In the place of love she received hate, in the place of caring she received anger, in the place of calmness her childhood brain was forced into anxiety that would be beyond all normal levels. Survival instincts kick in at this point, her childhood brain protected her, and she became “defended against” her attacker (mom) and so begins the perilous journey of a child in care.
It is not THEIR FAULT. (I wish you could hear me screaming that at you)
KIDS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM
But Shelley’s journey wasn’t finished here, she would now be put into “the system” and be brought through a childhood fraught with rejection – unreal expectations, new relationships, fear, more anxiety until one day, this child turned 18, and was now, no longer “funded.”
18 and alone.
The woman I met, that night, was married. She had two sons. And the greatest laugh I have ever heard.
And she had fun, we all did – at her table. She was, and is, a successful business person. She would put on a conference near Banff, and sell it out, and inspire other women to greatness. She would see that her boys are struggling in certain areas and seek to find them help and good counsel. She would go and buy them equipment for their sports endeavors. She would write a book.
She would teach me to how to budget my family finances.
I am Justin Hubert. I am the CEO of Heritage Family Services, an agency in Red Deer who cares for children who are a part of “the system.” We have over 100 kids in care. I oversee a staff of over 200 people, I have worked at Heritage as CEO for over 10 years, I grew up with the business as my dad started it in 1975.
In my opinion, to say that Shelley “transcended” her circumstances, is a gross understatement.
Shelley did so much more than simply transcend all that life dealt her, she has become a mature woman, who knows what she wants, and how she is going to get it. She knows her limitations and is willing to ask for help. She knows her hang-ups, and is willing to set goals and face them head on.
Will she fail? YEP!
Will she get back up again?
Thanks Shelley for all you have taught me, through your book “Beyond the Rear View Mirror.” I see my world differently, and my roll as the CEO of Heritage Family Services in a different light.
In short, your story – no, the sharing of your story changed who I am, and the outlook on the work I do. I am sorry for the pain you endured, and though it will never make it better, thank you for taking what life dealt you, and using it to bring out the best in the rest of us.
You are an inspiration.
Chief Executive Officer
Heritage Family Services
You can read more of Justin’s writings at: http://www.slv2all.blogspot.ca/