When we measure success for our clients, we assess to what degree they have achieved a level of independence that would allow them to function well unencumbered by the issues that brought them into care in the first place. However, independence is more likely than not achieved because of a sense of connectedness. We sometimes think of independence as a sign of being on our own but the fact is that we are very reliant on others to achieve and maintain the kind of well-being and functioning that helps us to be independent.
The best example of this certainly is the reliance that family members have on one another. Those essential relationships are the building blocks for self-esteem and confidence that help to create a healthy sense of independence. Our goal is to treat the needs not only of the child but of the whole family, so that strengthened in their relationships they can support one another. For families’ independence is the fine line between healthy reliance on one another and the self-confidence needed to be independent. All parents know how challenging walking this fine line can be. This is even more so the case for families dealing with the challenges of addiction, emotional instability, violence, and trauma.
The role of the extended family and community is important in providing a supportive network that reinforces the good functioning of the family. What independence is achieved is the result of the interrelationship of many to support the well-being of the individual.
The 4th of July, Independence Day, is perhaps the greatest of all our holidays because it embodies not just our individual hope for freedom but the collective effort of our nation to be independent. It celebrates what is the quintessential character of America: freedom and liberty for all. It also recognizes that freedom is achieved through the efforts of many to safeguard it with great sacrifice, if necessary.
It is this desire for authentic freedom that draws so many to our borders. This is poignantly depicted by desperate families seeking refuge from the ravages and threats of violence in their native countries. The issue of authorized entry to the United States is a core concern that challenges people of good intention who represent any number of political points of view. Regardless of our particular position on this issue, the tragedy of families being separated at the border is heartbreaking and contrary to the sense of personal dignity that we cherish as a nation. More than anything else these families seek independence and freedom for themselves and their children. They recognize it will not be achieved without the assistance of those who enjoy the freedom they seek.
For them and indeed for all of us, independence is defined by interrelationship. Strengthening a sense of support and care nurtures independence and makes for a strong community. This is true for our clients, for all of us and especially true for those at our borders seeking assistance. Although our Independence Day celebrations emphasize our freedom, it is important to remember that the independence we enjoy is the result of the reliance we have on one another. This truth is at the center of how we treat our clients and it is worth keeping in mind as we care for one another and especially those who desperately seek freedom and liberty.