Saturday, November 17, 2012

Profound Rights

I'm home.

There are many more stories to tell of our trip to the United Kingdom. I've told relatively few of them. Partly because with the travel and the hotels and the work there hasn't been time to really process some of what happened. But also partly because I feel inadequate to express some of what I saw and much of what I felt while being there. I met people who amazed me. I did things I've never done before. I find myself not knowing the vocabulary that I need. I will need time to process.

I remember when working with self advocates at Community Living Essex many years ago as they were developing a 'Bill of Rights' for the organisation. CL Essex was one of the first, if not the first, organisation in Ontario to engage their members in drafting a Bill of Rights to guide the organisation and to assist in training both staff and people with disabilities. I was new to facilitating these workshops. They are fun and exciting and it's always interesting to hear what people want as service recipients - it's never what is either expected or feared.

One of the fellows at the workshop that day came up with a right that was so profound, so new and fresh, that it stunned me with it's simplicity. I know that I am facilitating not leading in two ways, one is that I am surprised by the outcomes, and two is that each Bill of Rights is different from the others. Well, this one was new to me, it's also never come up in another group. Even so, I think it's a right that needs to be considered when providing service to people with intellectual disabilities - the older I get, the more I think it's a right we all need:

The Right To The Extra Five Minutes I Need To Think

How cool is that? I still remember, all these years later, him saying it and the explosion that went off in my head as a result of it. I've thought of it often over the years in my work with people with disabilities, in my work with families and in my work with staff. I remember when I was taking my Masters degree, one of my professors when listening to a tape recording of a counselling session with someone with a disability (yes I had consent) said that one of my problems as a counsellor was that I constantly 'grew for the person'.  She told me that I didn't give enough space for growth to happen naturally and independently of my own realisations. In effect, though I didn't know it then, I hadn't given the extra five minutes.

So, that's what I'm going to take for myself over the next several weeks. Blogs from my experiences in the UK are just going to pop in. Out of sync with time. Out of the flow of my life. Because I believe that with some time and with some thought I might be able to find the ways to tell you of some of what happened. Some of the deeply profound experiences that I had.

So ... onwards.

Tomorrow, I am taking off as Shannon takes on the Book Club with her review of 'At Swim, Two Boys.' See you Monday.


Belinda said...

Dave it is as good to take that extra five minutes as give it.

As a fellow blogger I bump into disparate people often who tell me that they've read this or that on my blog. I always tend to forget that there are people faithfully checking in, even if it isn't every day, and when I am reminded of that it makes me want to write better and give more worth in what they might find when they do check in.

I am not compelled to write every day and would rather take time to write thoughtfully and as well as I can. I never thought of it as giving myself an extra five minutes--but that's exactly what it is.

I so look forward to all that comes from the fount of your experience.

Nan said...

I look forward to your extra five minutes-worth of insight! And love it when people take time to process. When I go out with Jess (less often now than before) I always remind her ... at the bank, at the store, where ever she is making a transaction or in an information exchange, that she can take as long as she likes... I also usually remind her kind of loudly (well, not loudly, but not in a whisper) intentionally, hoping that others will hear and will think: hey, its okay to take as long as you need! and remember that when dealing with her or any other person who might need a little more time .... such as myself when my hands are full, or a caregiver, or an older person whose fingers aren't quite as nimble as they used to be. "Take as long as you need." I try to make this time in our daily life as we sometimes struggle through these transition years... often trying to give her time to regroup after yelling at me (because I am a MOM of course! and moms sometimes get yelled at!) or balking at learning something new ... take your time. When you're ready I'll be here. I want her to know that its okay to take whatever time you need (unless its an emergency and the tree is falling on you) to process, to figure out what you need to do etc.... I will admit tho, impatient person that I am, it is a learning process and SHE is very patient with ME!

Anonymous said...

I've been told and have observed that I am good at perception of others, assessment, weighing situations, anticipation of needs and even thoughts. I share this not to blow my own horn - but because it is these very things that rob others of their "5 minutes". I am terrible for jumping in and jumping the gun. I admit I usually "have it right" - but boy do I have it wrong. I can so recognize myself in some Dave's reflections.

In one of my courses the prof touched on this area in connection to teaching. He pointed out how quick we are to glean the answer we are looking for to fulfill our agenda - so keen that we are not really listening to the other person. He suggested using the phrase: "Tell me more".

I love it. It shows interest in the speaker, allows them to fully articulate what they are saying and to go past the obvious into the color and depth of the statement.

I have found it successful - slows me down, values the contribution of the other - and gives me the opportunity to learn.

I may not be at the 5 minute mark yet - but I am working on it. :-)