My Job In a Nutshell by Kevin Hoover

Kevin Hoover

My Job In a Nutshell



Sometimes people ask me
what my job is
and I tell them
I work with kids,
but beyond this
it’s hard to explain
what it is I do;
so many kids,
each dealin’ with their own issues.

Maybe I’m crazy to think
that I could help.
Maybe I’m over-confident
or just full of myself.
Maybe I’m arrogant to want to help someone else
through things they live with
that I’ve never felt.

Somebody somewhere with a PHD
gave them names like ‘ODD’, ‘OC’, and ‘ADHD’.
I feel like I’m swimmin’ in a bowl of alphabet soup
and although I’m not a doctor
I’m not outta the loop.
I know that in addition to the medications
and psychiatric evaluations
and behavioral adjustment implementations
what they really need
is someone to be there,
someone who loves what they do
and someone who really cares.

Someone who instead of demanding it
will try to earn the respect
of kids with histories of neglect,
histories of people with a short fuse
who abandoned love
only to replace it with abuse,
histories of sadness,
histories of God-forsaken madness,
and histories of God-knows-what-else.

God forbid everyone should have
to walk in these kids’ shoes.
I’ve been more fortunate than that
and that’s why I’m here to
do what I can by doing what I do.
I’m trying to show them that
a journey of a thousand miles
begins with a first step,
and all the while
I try to crack a few jokes
and lighten the mood and make them smile.

At least one of these kids found it funny
to hear a white guy say
‘ya know what I mean?’
I always have to think about what I say-
I gotta be keepin’ it clean.
I’m an activist against a whole lotta cursin’.
I try to be a role-model person.
I’m not a ‘think of myself first’ kinda person-
I’m a different kinda person.
I think I’m a kind person.

I’m an experiment on the patience of human kind,
but I got mad love for these kids.
For real—you’d have to be blind
not to see it when I try to help them find
their souls
their path
a goal.
And if they lose sight of that goal
if they lose track
I try to help them back.

I’m a virtual reality beach
during an asthma attack.
I’m an advisor to kids
that don’t know how to act,
when they find themselves facin’
a given situation
and their angers give rise
to the cries of
‘well she did this’ and
‘he did that’ and
‘who did what, why, how’
but I say it’s all
slow it down
take it back.
I tell these kids,
‘You gotta calm yourself.
If you can’t do it alone
I’m here to help.
If you wanna talk
let’s talk.
If you wanna walk
let’s walk.
If you find yourself outta control
and goin’ off the deep end,
then reach out your hand
and I’ll pull you back in;
but you gotta swim just a bit,
and if you don’t know how to swim
you gotta kick,
and if you don’t know how to kick
ask me how.
That’s my job.
That’s why I’m there,
and now.

Now is your opportunity to work on yourself
and to help your peers,
to defeat your demons
and conquer your fears.
This is your chance to rise above
all the negativity in your life
that held you back instead of helping you up.
This is your time.

I spend my time conversin’ with Earth’s children
not believin’ for a second that these are the ‘worst’ children
knowin’ there’s no such thing as bad children,
only bad choices made by hurt children
workin’ with young children
workin’ with old children
workin’ with soul children
watchin’ ‘em become whole children.
and whole people.

See as people we’re never
entirely complete,
but the more we drive for it
and the more we strive for it
the more complete we become
and the stronger we get.
I’m tryin’ to reach them
in hopes to teach them
that the path in life they take
can be better than the sum of
the mistakes they make.

I think sometimes they respect me,
but sometimes they choose to hate me
and I wish there was something I could do
just to make things cool,
but that’s hard to do
when all they wanna do
is play the fool
just ta be cool
wantin’ to be rough and tough,
sayin’ ‘look at me the gangsta”,
givin’ no thanks ta
the words of wisdom
that I’m tryin’ ta give them.

Sometimes I have to be a little bit nicer.
Sometimes I have to be a little bit meaner.
I’m a bed-time book reader.
I’m a body guard in case of a brawl.
I’m an 8am wake-up call.
I tell the kids I’m a psychic
so don’t even think about an AWOL.

These kids make me tired,
they make me cranky,
and they make me frustrated
but they also make me a better person.
They teach me tolerance.
They let me into their lives.
They teach me patience,
and they open my eyes.

These kids…

they give me love
they give me laughter
they give me pause
they give me meaning
they give me cause.

These kids…

they give me hell,
but hey…
that’s my job in a nutshell.