I took a bit of time out this week.
I’ve had a reasonably quiet week this week, apart from a trip to Wellington for the 2nd “Networking” Working Group meeting on Wednesday for the system transformation. For me the travel went relatively smoothly with AirNZ, apart from being entered into the system as a visually impaired person with a golden retriever. I know I wrote “Black Labrador” on the form, I have the original! This just further demonstrated that there is a big disconnect between “Special Assistance” and the ground crew.
The Networking meeting went well. I spoke a little about whakawhanaungatanga before we got into the “think tank” type work, I wanted to ensure that intentional, caring relationship building was central to our thinking within this work. In this meeting our smaller groups started tackling the “how” of building intentional safe relationships around people in some defined contexts. Some good ideas were captured and there was a lot of discussion on how we “network” with people with learning disabilities and limited understanding of their world. The small group I was in focused on advocacy for individuals and although our slightly scatter-brained approach probably frustrated the facilitators, we definitely started mapping out how an independent advocacy service could engage with our community.
While this was going on Mike Pulman published a blog piece on some concerns about a leadership program that had been brought to him by participants of the program. Mike caught some backlash for this piece, he stated in this blog that he was speaking out as those who had spoken to him did not feel safe to do so themselves. For me Mike did exactly what we in the content creators network set out to do; telling our stories without a media lens, people within our community telling our stories.
Let’s face it Mike is never one to shy away from uncomfortable conversations and often he is pretty much a “shock jock” in how he goes about these conversations. All too often we see discussions about bullying and negative workplace culture get swept under the carpet and kept within an “internal process”. We all know that this negative culture is alive an well in too many areas of society and we need be talking about it. Mike and I don’t always agree and that is the beauty about the content creators network; we don’t have to always agree, we just make a conscious decision to share each other’s content when we want to. There are no fixed agreements, no formal arrangements, just a commitment to keep writing, doing vids or making podcast; telling our stories for ourselves (or for those that don’t feel safe speaking out).
|I’m not sure where the clouds end and the South Island begins…|
What I’ve seen this week (and many times in the past) is a community divided, divided because many of us (myself included at times) can’t step back from a situation and have a rational, robust discussion about issues that face us. We all carry our own history and baggage and all too often I see people using their own baggage as the only lens to view an issue through. We all have our own bias, we all have our own views, but we need to have rational discussions through an issue. Even if we don’t agree at the end of a discussion, at least will have made an effort to see the situation from other perspectives. A 6 can look like a 9 depending on your perspective. We all come from different perspectives and none of our journeys are the same, if we can have rational conversations we can come to an understanding of someone else’s perspective and this in turn can create a kinder world.
|My “Golden Retriever” napping|
|Palmy looks kinda weird from up here|
Take time this week to try and look at a situation from another perspective when you feel yourself getting worked up. Take the time to take a breath before reacting and have some of those “tough” conversations. Be kind to each other!