Part 6: The Psychologist Responds
Keith, your first hypothetical about the teacher with problems raises excellent questions for missions engaged in recruiting teachers for their schools, as well as missions trying to keep parents content with whoever works with their children.
Here are some thoughts about approaches, both before and after accepting a person.
1. If you are hiring a teacher, it might be helpful to have an interviewing packet that includes a case study analysis to judge a person's range of responses to normal school situations. What if two to three scenarios were presented where the interviewer could ascertain the teacher’s attitudes and reactions about typical problem scenarios? Does the candidate react wisely? Would it help the interviewer evaluate the candidate?
2. The school or mission may have written guidelines about coaching kids on their emotional and psychological journey. Could it be possible to have additional guidelines about what to tell children when they asked questions outside of the subject being taught? These would be endorsed by all teachers.
3. Does the mission train all educators about applying biblical standards in discussions?
With respect to Keith’s second scenario, I agree wholeheartedly that “free and clear” in your home country is completely different from in a new assignment, where the culture is different, the stresses are different, and accountability is different.
I see a number of questions to ask. First, what is the status of member care for your organization in that country? Do you have staff who have experience managing people experiencing these spiritual problems?
Second, do you need country-specific guidelines around these issues, so that it can help if you have to decline accepting a person?
Third, do you have the person sign a declaration that they are aware of the risks before-hand?
This raises an interesting issue. At what point does member care assume total protection over a missionary 24/7, when after all the person is an adult, and has lots of freedom to do whatever he chooses to do?
Fourth, what would the support plan be? Could we include regular current and historical queries about behavior, and risks, etc.? How deep can we go in trying to help take care of people (not to mention protecting them?
Perhaps Theresa can speak into whether these approaches are even legal.
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion
Because of the generality of the information on this site, it may not apply to a given place, time, or set of facts. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations