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123 MAY 2009
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EDITORIAL

Preaching to the Choir

I was in Victoria B.C. recently with the Circle of Courage folks at one of their annual conferences (no this is not an advertisement, but I could be accused of it). Anyway, while I was there I was struck by how “like-minded” the participants were. Everyone seemed to be invested in a few simple principles, like:

  1. Seeing young people as hurting, not bad

  2. Realizing that it is important to consider the functioning of the brain when working with people

  3. Believing that moments make a difference

  4. Accepting that if you don’t figure out how to “meet the need” real change won’t happen

  5. Knowing that if you don’t connect, nothing else will matter.

Now, the principles are important “aren’t they always “but my real point is that here was a large group of people, working with kids, who all shared many similar values and beliefs. At one point someone said “presenting here is like preaching to the choir “everyone already believes.

Well, it got me to thinking “how do you get people to join the choir “how do you get people to adopt what are, for them, new values and beliefs? And it seems to me that this is a key question in how we all help the field to change, to move away from punitive, authoritarian models of “care”, to recognize young people as hurting people? But it is not something we do terribly well in our field.

There are still, in my opinion, too many people locked in antiquated, ineffective ways of trying to be helpful “because I do want to believe everyone wants to be helpful. There are still too many people unexposed to different, more effective ways like those reflected constantly in the pages of CYC-Net. There are still too many young people poorly served by out-dated models of care.

So, this is what I am reflecting on these days. How does one convert the unconverted?

And I know that some of you probably have some good answers to the question.

So, I was wondering if you would post some of your thoughts on the Discussion Group. So that we might reflect together on how we can help people to change their ways.

After all, it is what we do, is it not?

Thom

The International Child and Youth Care Network
THE INTERNATIONAL CHILD AND YOUTH CARE NETWORK (CYC-Net)

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