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Old 12-02-2009, 09:19 PM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 7,723

I haven't had a chance to read all this as I have just had a job evaluation and other stressful things have occurred but I have a story to relay that points out to me what I have been feeling in all this. I have no idea if it fits here, but I gotta get it out as I finally have some way of explaining how I feel.

I have several clients that I work with that look much younger and act much younger than their age. We go out often on the bus and as I live in a city where there are a lot of older people we quite often get talking on the bus as we are all regulars. Usually it's about the weather or events around town, stuff we can all relate to, but when they feel more comfortable they start asking questions about my clients.

This is where I apologize in advance as I don't mean to slot anyone into any spot here, and hope you realize that it is an EXAMPLE.

So recently someone asked me if I was taking my daughter to an event that day. I said no, she is not my daughter actually and she my client with a developmental disability/delay. The woman looked confused and continued to keep talking about retarded people. I continued talking with her, modeling all the while the appropriate words to use to replace "retarded..." that to me was the respectful way to do it considering she was learning, an older woman (say 75) and felt comfortable enough to talk to us.

I have felt in the past that people have respected my process and given me an open door to talk and ask questions when they have empathized with the fact that I am new to something. I have felt respected when I am met where I am at. I was considering this when talking with this woman. I was making my point, but not standing up in the bus and telling her what she said was wrong in front of the whole population of the bus.

On these forums I feel sometimes that we forget that we are a group that is on display. I also find that sometimes people take a road rage approach to speaking, as if we are not real people. I consider that when I am spoken to that way and take things with a grain of salt. If we were all sitting on a bus, as in my story, we would talk to each other differently I would hope. We would see body language, would notice if someone was being triggered or having emotions, and we would certainly stand up for values and beliefs we believe in... we are not though and I, for one, need to remember that. I need to ask if someone meant to say something the way they did, ask if it is okay to start a thread on what someone just said because it spoke to me of a bigger issue and communicate from a place of being interested to know what is going on for someone rather than a place of needing to get my point across.

I have found that I eventually create change in people by asking questions, and using the language and value system I hold so dear. Not by showing them up in front of their friends when they are most vulnerable in their "toilet paper on the foot" situation. I would think that if someone say ME, with toilet paper on my shoe they would come over, pull me aside and ask, did you mean to keep that toilet paper on your shoe? Just thought you should know it was there.
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