This week has been really hard for the staff. Our clients have been quite difficult and very demanding and it has meant that we have had to re-establish boundaries again and make some decisions that have not been popular. We know that our job is not to be popular. It would be good if we could be and still manage to keep boundaries in place, and also make decisions with the clients that will allow them to take responsibility for their own lives and move on. We are not in this job to keep perpetuating patterns that keep our clients in the positions they are in. We believe very strongly that there is hope for every one of them and that they can change and start to live life in all its fullness. Every journey begins with that small first step. We never underestimate these small steps, as we know that they are so important in enabling and empowering them. They are foundational in slowly but surely building up client’s confidence too and allowing them to see that there is more they can do for themselves and they are capable of doing even more. Our family has had the usual pets that you tend to succumb to with small children; one of these was a hamster. We had this perfectly average cage with the usual wheel for it to enjoy. One day one of our sons went to the Scouts jumble sale and came back with an array of tunnels and various shapes, which all interconnected and made like an adventure playground for the hamster. When we first put the hamster in he was very nervous and stayed for ages in the same spot. He didn’t look happy at all and I guess if he could have spoken he would have said please take me back to my cage. But we persisted, well my son did, and eventually he loved it and it was like he was discovering new skills every day. We all noted that he was an altogether different hamster. He was full of life and you could tell he was a happier hamster. We had extended his boundaries and it took him a while to realise they were safe but when he did he was so happy! I know this analogy is probably stretching it a little far but I guess we can all see where I’m going. Clients do not often want to move out of the familiar and comfortable- to be honest do any of us? We all want to stay in our “cages” and keep going on our “wheels.”   When we are able to break out, and try new things, and move away from things that have held us captive for so long, we begin to live life a little more fully and not be controlled anymore, by some of these destructive things or negative influences. We could go down the popular route of taking the least resistance but I suspect we would not see the amazing steps our clients are taking and have taken, and will take in the future, in their journeys of hope and freedom. It takes a lot of “bottle” sometimes for staff to confront some of these issues with clients but it takes even more “bottle” for our clients to be willing to move out of the familiar and begin to seriously look at and confront these issues. That is why we keep going and are willing to take the less easy route. We believe in these precious people.