Wearing Masks for Protection

Rev John Cobb wearing a superhero maskJust look around you; almost everyone is wearing a mask to protect themselves and others. Many special individuals are making masks to protect the most vulnerable people around us. We are learning that masks are quickly becoming a necessary part of life. We only take them off when we are certain that we are in a safe space.

The young people that we serve come to us wearing masks. These masks have become necessary because of the environments they come from. The masks protect them at their most vulnerable times. The reason for their mask is not COVID-19; the real reason is TRAUMA.

Our young people have experienced such significant trauma that these “masks” are necessary in order to survive. What are some of these “masks”?

  • Pushing other people away
  • Bullying
  • Running away
  • Being withdrawn
  • Defiance to those in authority
  • And the list goes on…

How do we get them to take off these “masks”? They will only take off these masks when they are absolutely certain that they are in a safe space. They will quickly put these masks back on when they feel unsafe until they learn how to use different skills. They will only use these skills when they see others (including us) model how in real life situations. So as we are learning how to live life with and without masks, let us manage our own emotions and deal with our own traumas so that we can help the most vulnerable around us, the young people we serve.

PS: I want to say a huge thank you to my wife for making my mask and many others!

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Rev. John Cobb is the Continuous Quality Improvement Risk Manager and Sanctuary Coordinator for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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