Friday, June 27, 2008

Somethings Missing

A couple days ago, sitting at my desk in Vita, writing something on the computer a young woman appeared in my door. I stopped looked up and smiled. She asked to talk to me 'just for a minute'. I told her to come on in. She sat down, twice apologized for taking my time, twice saying she could come back later, twice saying that I looked to busy to talk. She was so young, so overtaken by nerves, I could only smile inwardly at the memory of me during my early days working direct care.

I assured her that I was having a busy day, dealing with something big - good, and big - good leaves more time than big - bad. I encouraged her to go ahead. She said that she'd picked up a copy of my book "Just Say Know" recently and as she was reading it she thought that I'd missed something big. I sat back in my chair, enjoying the conversation, she caught my movement, realized what she'd said, and began to apologize again. "It's a good book, I'm really enjoying it ..."

"Hold on," I said, "I expect people to think while reading my books. You read it with different experences that I wrote it with, of course you are going to come at it with new ideas, I love this kind of thing?"



Then she did what I love people doing. She went personal - then she wen professional. She talked, vaguely guarding her privacy, about a couple of personal experiences and how those experiences informed her about what she needed to know, what she wished she had been taught, what would have made the world safer for her. Then when reading the book 'Just Say Know' and the "Ring of Safety" she noted that her need, the one she'd been thinking about wasn't there that she thought should be there, or at least should be talked about. She was well spoken, she could draw her explanations in pictures in the air - the mark of a good teacher.

We discussed it further and I told her that in my original document for the great 'Abuse Prevention Experiment' at Vita, her idea is on the table. We'd tried to find people interested in working on that aspect of training but they had fallen through. Would she like to investigage it further?

She would.

She will.

I expect an email with a plan in my mailbox when I get back there next week.

This is probably a 'tease' you probably want to know what her idea was. Well, it was her idea. Even though I wrote it in the original plan, if this goes forward it will be hers first, mine second. I'll write about it when she's ready to go forward with it. The point here, isn't what her idea was, the point here is how she came to realize what others may need.

The ability to look objectively at your own life, see honestly what a situation meant, is one of the best gifts you can have as a parent, as a careprovider. We work in human services, we parent human children - our own humanity is obviously a resource for understanding others.

And I love it that someone when reading my book was at the same time, reading their own story.

What the staff who is writing the note to me at Vita doesn't know is that I've already taken her idea upwards in the organization and got an agreement to invest in some books and investigate some avenues of training - for her, Christmas is coming early.


Anonymous said...

You took the time to listen to her. What more can a person ask for. I so wish that someone had validated me when I was young. I finally learned how to do it for myself but it took about fifty years. But you know daughter has received that gift all of her life...from me. Cool huh?

Anonymous said...

You are such a lovely man.


Anonymous said...

How very cool to work within an organization that values everyone. and their ideas. And to think, if you'd not taken the time- everyone would have lost something that sounds good - possibly great. Good Job

Anonymous said...

I wish there were more people in the line of human services who were prepared to accept new ideas and even possibly face critisism. Thanks Dave, you have encouraged me again to continue.

Anonymous said...

I want to know the idea, you big tease!!

(mom to Adam, 5)

Veralidaine said...

I want to know the idea, too! No fair. *pout*