Between the Lines



March, so far, has been a wet, wet month. I was always told that “April showers bring May flowers,” but I guess this year April is getting a head start. All I know is we better have some pretty impressive flowers come May!

Besides being a dreary, rainy month, March is also Social Work Month. I am confident we have all heard of, or personally know, a social worker. In my profession, I tend to work closely with them on an almost daily basis. Often times they are calling to update me on a case I am involved with or to request a meeting with me or my client. Also, simply because of the nature of social work, those calls are to inform me of some unfortunate situation occurring in Blount County.

What they don’t tell me, or rather what I don’t see, is the hours of work that has gone in to gathering the information for that phone call. I don’t experience the 3 a.m. call to pick up a child from domestic abuse. I don’t see the parent high on drugs. I don’t have to spend even more hours finding a placement for those children while their parents get it together. I don’t have to schedule the visits, coordinate the counseling, and work with providers to help families reunite, but social workers do. It’s a tough job. But social work isn’t just about protecting children; it’s about protecting and supporting people.

Social workers by and large work diligently to help alleviate the conditions of those in need. That is a huge umbrella, too. That means they help the elderly who need support or attention; they will assist with utilities and necessities if the situation arises; they will help promote adoptions in cases where children can’t be reunited with their biological parents; they check in, and a lot of the time that is the most important.

You will hear horror stories about social workers “ripping families apart,” but like me, what you don’t see is the happenings behind the scenes. No one is perfect, and we all get it wrong sometimes, but being a social worker is like balancing a glass of boiling water on your head while riding a bike backward in the dark… on a cliff. It’s a hard, thankless job, but if we didn’t have them, we’d be a lot worse for the wear.

If you know a social worker, or even if you don’t, say a prayer for them as they do their best to make terrible situations better. And, if you would, say thank you. It goes such a long way.

Until next time, I hope you find something new here in Blount County. It’s a good old place to call home.

-Richard Phillips