Monday, May 03, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

It really was an odd week. We began by travelling to New York where I spoke at a huge conference there, we ended in Carleton Place on Saturday with 40 people sitting around a small board room. The lectures in New York were a short hour and a bit, the lectures in Carleton Place were whole day affairs. Each type of venue, each setup offers a different challenge to a speaker. Home now, I'm just relieved that I'm still agile enough to dance between expectations.

What was noteworthy to me was that no matter New York City or Carleton Place, the people who came, came with the same purpose. They wanted to learn, they wanted to gain insight, they wanted to serve better. It is in these moments I see the potential for a world wide movement of significant and incredible power. Power to change laws. Power to change language. Power to change lives.

In both the city and the country, there were both parents and professionals there. Though much is vaunted about the gulf between families and service agencies, at the core there is a unity of caring and concern which is remarkable. In Carleton Place where we had the luxury of a whole hour of question and answer (something I truly love) it was impossible to identify by the question if it was asked by a parent, a professional, a supervisor or a front line staff.

It is like we are simply waiting for a voice, for a leadership to take us forward. Not leadership of vested interest but leadership of moral vision and universal purpose. It is like there is an untapped source ready to create social change if only marshaled properly. It is like there is truly potential for revolution.

I have seen, in individual agencies wherein someone has the courage to lead, not simply manage, inspire not simply supervise, embolden not simply suppress. I have seen what can happen when self advocate groups catch fire. I know that it's possible. The time is come, and may soon pass, we need that leadership now.

I understand the desperate cry, 'If not now, when?'


Jan said...

Wonderful blog David. Bring on the revolution.
I am working with a group of people where I live to look at how we support individuals with disabilities and their families and try to create a diverse supportive community where everyone is welcome. sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time but today after reading your blog I am again inspired.
Thank you

eiramyllek73 said...

"the courage to lead, not simply manage, inspire not simply supervise, embolden not simply suppress."

This should be a part of every mission statement of every Community Living Organization, and beyond.