My “Field of Dreams” Story – If I Build It, Will They Come?
Hi, I’m Dr. Brenna Hicks, The Kid Counselor. This is the Play Therapy Parenting Podcast where I give you insight, awareness, and enlightenment about your parenting and your relationship with your kids. In this episode, I would like to give you an update on what’s been going on with me, and share a little bit of encouragement with you as well because we all need that. So if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know how much I love baseball. I talk about it, I write about it, I blog about it, podcast about it, so baseball is a huge part of my life. And the Tampa Bay Rays are at the center of that. So if you know anything about what we do in our free time, and what I’m passionate about, it’s definitely baseball. And so one of the greatest moments of my fandom came a few weeks back, and I don’t know if some of you all watched it – I hope so! It was amazing. The Field of Dreams game was televised on TV. And you know, way back in the day when I was young – I don’t know how old all of you are, but when I was young, the movie “Field of Dreams” came out. And I remember watching that movie with my brother, and you know we watched it again and again, and we knew the lines from it. And if you have not watched it, totally worth buying and watching for yourself. Speaking of that – I just saw something that said that movie, the sales for that movie, shot up like 50,000% or whatever after they televised the game. So apparently, everyone who didn’t see it or loved it a long time ago, now wants to watch it. So the sales are through the roof, so you may not be able to find a copy, but it’s worth watching for sure. So Kevin Costner is in the movie as the main character, and he was actually on the televised Field of Dreams game and came walking out of the corn. And so if you did not watch the game, or you know nothing about what I’m talking about in the movie, they were on a farm in Iowa (I think) and he created a baseball field in the middle of the corn. And so they used the exact same corn field and they created the game on the Field of Dreams field. So really cool thing. We got to watch Kevin Costner walk out of the corn and then all of the baseball players start walking out of the corn, which happened in the movie. It was just such an amazing, nostalgic moment for me.
It was a White Sox vs. Yankees game. First ever on the Field of Dreams field, and now they’re going to repeat. So Manfred, who’s the commissioner of baseball, has decided they’re going to make this an annual thing. And next year’s tickets are already sold out! So I’m so bummed. Can’t go, but I’m going try in future years for sure. So White Sox and Yankees played this game on the Field of Dreams field, and it was the most watched televised sporting event in history. So I mean it, it was a really cool moment. And as a baseball lover, it just meant even more to me. And if you’ve seen the movie, you know the line, “if you build it, they will come.” And that’s kind of the crux of the whole movie. “If you build it, they will come.” So he builds this baseball field, hoping that the players will show up. And that got me thinking that what’s been happening in my world lately is very reminiscent of “if you build it, they will come.”
So few weeks back, I finally moved into my new center. And for those of you that may be new to listening to me or knowing much about me, I’m in the Tampa Bay Area and I have been for almost two years waiting on my new building. And so we were able to move in a couple weeks ago. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet. We’ve been dealing with a lot of moving and a lot of transition. And so a few weeks back, moved in 5000 square foot building. We’re able to do so much more there and it’s so exciting to be in there. It’s been, you know, a dream that’s been a long time coming. And I wanted to share with you a little bit of my backstory and how I ended up in this new building because a lot of you don’t really know my center, and the running my practice story.
So I had a practice before my son was born for 3.5 years and it was in the medical arts building of a hospital. So I subleased a small little office, and I had my playroom and I met with parents, and it was a great experience. I had my son, closed the practice, stayed home with him for 6.5 years. And while I was home with him, got my PhD. So I was a full time student, full time stay at home mom. And then when he started first grade, I felt like he was going to be gone for a chunk of the day, and he was a little bit older, and so my dream, my vision, my hope was that I could start my practice up again. And I wanted 10 clients a week. So that was what I said to my husband. “You know, I think if I just do 10 clients a week, I can keep my skills current. I can keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on with kids. I can be back in the field and be doing what I love. You know, I’ve missed play therapy a lot.”
So fast forward to 2016, and I found this office in this not so great office park. We had to do a whole bunch of construction inside to make it functional; got it for a really good price, but it needed a lot of work. It wasn’t in that great of a park, it wasn’t that great of an office. And my intention was to have 10 clients a week, and in a month and a half of restarting up I had 25 clients. So God had other plans for me, that’s what I always say. I thought 10 and He said, “no, 25.” So I’m busy and I’m seeing a lot of clients and I thought, ‘oh my gosh, there’s such a need, I’m not going to be able to do this myself.’ So I brought on a couple other therapists who were in the building with me, they were subleasing from me. So we were serving quite a few kids in there. But we just, we realized very quickly we were outgrowing that space. We didn’t have enough people. So I moved into a larger, nicer office in 2018. And I had just started my own wait list. I was so maxed out that I said, “Okay, I’m going to have to put people on a wait. So we brought on another play therapist at the end of 2018, she got full within several months. I brought on another play therapist in 2019. She got full within a few months.
So at that point, we were serving 75 families a week and we still had a wait list. So as you can see, I learned very quickly that the need is great and that we had to expand. We had to be able to help more people, quicker. So I started looking into really large offices, couldn’t find any that would meet our needs, and that had what we required as play therapists. And you know, just kind of the feel of what we wanted. So that said, in 2019 December, I signed a contract to build a new building. And then Covid hit, and then distribution and supply, and all of those other delays. So as of a few weeks ago, I’m finally in my new, huge building and that’s been a really exciting dream come true type of fulfillment for the last few weeks. It’s been so much work, and a lot of stress, but it has been really rewarding and really fulfilling to watch a dream really kind of come true in front of my own eyes. And it got me thinking “if you build it, they will come” because this really is a leap of faith for me. This center is trusting that if I build a center that will allow nine therapists to serve 25 clients a week, that’s 225 families (or children or people, family units) that we can help each week.
And I’m hoping that if I build it, they will come. And I’m super excited about our growth already. We, one of my play therapists is coming back from maternity leave in a couple of weeks. Oh my gosh, I’ve missed her, so I can’t wait for her to join me again. We have another play therapist moving down from Tennessee in a couple of months to join us. So that means we will have four play therapists actively seeing clients with room for one more. So we’re actively recruiting a new play therapist soon. If you are one, if you know any, please let them know. We want child-centered play therapists to come join us. So that will take care of the play therapy side. And then I have four adult therapy rooms, so we can serve individuals, couples, families. And we’ve had one adult therapist join us already, with the opportunity for three more. So we’re actively recruiting adult therapists as well. Marriage and family therapists, mental health therapists, licensed clinical social workers. So we’d actually be interested in having a psychologist as well, that can do gifted assessments and learning disability assessments, things like that. So we are rapidly growing, rapidly expanding, and I’m very grateful for that. And it will allow us to serve a lot of families.
We have a huge 30 person training room in the center. So we’ll be able to do workshops and conferences and trainings and things like that. So it’s just been a really amazing process to watch this unfold and it just kind of correlated to me with the Field of Dreams game, because that was such a crazy idea to build a baseball field in the middle of the corn. And “if you build it, they will come” and they came. And so I feel a little crazy building this massive therapy center. There’s not really a whole lot of those around here, but I’m trusting that if I build it, that the families and the kids that need it will come. So thank you for celebrating that with me. I am honored to be able to get this rolling and and see how it will grow.
And so, to encourage you a bit, I was also thinking about the parenting journey as well, as I always do. My son will be 12 in a couple of weeks. So that’s been interesting to consider that this is his last year before teenage years. And it goes quickly. And it takes work. And that to be an effective parent, you have to have the skills and the tools that you need. So as a bit of encouragement, I think that sometimes we have to parent with the mentality “if you build it, they will come.” And what I mean by that is sometimes we don’t see immediate evidence of the work that we’re putting in. We don’t see the immediate change. We don’t see the immediate outcome. We don’t see that things are going to work out the way that we’re hoping that they will. But the work that we put in up front, the building that takes place initially, all of the effort and energy that we pour into something with the hopes that it will go the way that we would like it to, that is the outcome that we’re working toward. Even if we don’t see it immediately. And you know, the work that we put in to build the relationship with our kids, the work that we put in to love our kids well. The work that we put in to communicate in both directions – that we want our kids to communicate with us and we want to be able to communicate with them. The unconditional acceptance that we work to build in our relationship with our kids. Those are powerful and important decisions that we make.
And sometimes there isn’t immediate result. And so if we build those things, what we want comes. I genuinely believe that. You know, there’s a verse in the bible that says train up your child in the way that they will go and when they’re older, they don’t depart from it. I genuinely believe that the work that you put in, the seeds that you plant, the time that you spend, the tools that you learn, the skills that you gain, all of the stuff that you’re doing each and every day to be the best parent that you can be – It pays off. And sometimes we don’t know when, and we don’t know how, and we’re hopeful that it will. So I think that “if you build it, they will come” mentality is really helpful, just in the day to day parenting journey. Because those skills are built, they are developed and they do require work. But we have to trust that it will go the way that we think that it will go, because the work that we put in matters, and it’s significant in the long run.
So “if you build it, they will come.” Your kids will turn out to be happy adults because they were happy kids. I believe that. That’s what I work for, that’s why I do this; you are why I do this, because you know that’s an important impact that we have as parents, to say “I’m working, and I’m learning, and I’m growing, and my kids are better for it.” So I wanted to give you an update, wanted to encourage you a little bit. I hope that you feel that this week, the work that you’re putting in matters. And you see that even if there isn’t immediate outcome or gain, that it is significant and important. So hopefully that encourages you make those decisions in those moments. Those daily parenting scenarios that you know that what you’re doing now will pay off later.
So as always, thank you for being a part of the Play Therapy Parenting Family, The Kid Counselor Family. As a related aside, I don’t know how familiar you all are with the love languages, but if you know anything about the five love languages – and if you don’t, please go take a free online test. It is such a fascinating world to dive into and it’s one of my favorite things. I have all the people that join me at the center take one. I’ve had my family and my friends take one. You learn a lot about yourself and others when you know what love languages are and how they influence our interactions and relationships. So if you have no clue what I’m talking about, search free online love language test and you can take it and figure out what you are. And have the people that you know take it so you can love them in the way that they need to be loved.
But for those of you who do, I am a Words of Affirmation person. And I’m going to get a little transparent with you right now, because I don’t usually talk about my personal personality stuff very much. But I’m a Words of Affirmation person. And I was thinking not too long ago that, you know, I spend a lot of time and energy and effort connecting with you all. And everything that I do, I always have you all in mind. I’m thinking what will serve them, what will help them, what will encourage them, what will give them the tools that they need to succeed? You know, that that’s why I blog and podcast and make videos, and that’s why we have the center. My goal and my hope is that we can equip parents and kids to be happy and that they will become happy adults. So you are always in the forefront of my mind with all of the things that I do. And it dawned on me that I don’t often tell you what I need from you. And maybe that sounds weird, but I need to hear from you. I’m a words of affirmation person, I feel the most fulfilled, I feel the most encouraged when someone says, “hey, you know, I appreciated this” or “hey, I want to talk about this” or “this didn’t make an ounce of sense. Can you please clarify?” Or whatever it is. I like the feedback, I like the engagement, I like the communication. And so I would love it if you would let me know if something that I’ve said, something that I’ve taught, something that I’ve encouraged you with, if it resonated with you, if it connected with you, if it helped. If it serves you in any way, I would love to hear it. And it’s just the way my love tank gets filled up. And you know, there’s other ways to fill other people’s tanks, but I’m a words person. So I would just ask that if this is important to you, if it’s helpful to you, it would be helpful for me to hear from you, to get your feedback. And some of you do, so thank you for sending me emails and commenting on my videos and things like that! I love that interaction. But if you haven’t, and you feel that you wanted to let me know something, share something with me, talk to me, it would really mean a lot to hear from you. So as always, I appreciate you being a part of this podcast and I will talk to you soon. Bye.