A good story can take the complexity of life and make it a manageable, bite-size piece of truth, for kids and adults alike. Two-Hearted Numbat is one of those. It tells a story of an animal with two hearts. His stone heart makes him strong and powerful, while his feather heart makes him soft and gentle. But when having two hearts becomes a problem, Numbat feels he must choose one over the other. In the end, Numbat realizes he can keep both hearts and be both kind and strong.
We use this lesson to prompt awareness of internal conflicts with our kids and adolescents, who commonly wrestle with feelings of loyalty, resentment, love, and loss, each processing their current wellbeing and past family experiences in their own time. Stepping into the painful parts of one’s personal story to find healing is not an easy task for anyone and needs encouragement, patience, and support.
What is amazing about our young residents is their resilience. We can be facilitators for healing, but to engage in healing behaviors — such as trusting others, being honest, and practicing forgiveness — is a choice, and not one for which we can demand compliance. It’s a choice that many of our residents make, given enough time and (safe) space, when their heart is ready.
One resident that comes to mind is now a teen who has been with us for almost ten years. She recently reconciled with her mother, who abandoned her years ago and moved to Mexico. Last year, this tearful mother returned to the area and asked for her daughter’s forgiveness. We witnessed her struggle and her choice. She was ready, and bravely chose to take the first step to heal that place in her heart. She said, “Yes.”