See the Other Side by Butch Ford
During my professional career in Human Services…I’ve had the distinct honor of working in the inner-city Public Schools System, the Clinical Psychiatric Field and in Juvenile Detention. I was blessed to have met some incredible people throughout my journey. In each of those positions, I encountered individuals dealing with extreme challenges. A lot of them beyond our comprehension. Most of them precipitated by social, emotional, and/or economic conditions. Often…to no fault of their own. They were commonly judged unfairly and, in most cases, categorized by what was only visible to the naked eye. All they truly desired was someone to care, who was willing to put forth the effort to help them work through their obstacles. Or someone to listen to their story. Sadly, most of the clients couldn’t see beyond their current circumstance.
I always made a point to talk to them regularly, taking the necessary time to familiarize myself with them as well as their cases…to be a support system. I was always professional; I spoke to them respectfully and I treated them with dignity and class…looking beyond their diagnosis or their charges. These core values proved to be extremely helpful and were vital in establishing a healthy rapport needed to build trust with the clients. It was amazing to see how barriers would crumble as we got to the root of several of their issues.
One strategy that I found beneficial was my suggestion for the clients to travel and visit different cities, states or even countries. My belief was…a change of scenery could potentially lead to a change of lifestyle, a difference of philosophy or perhaps a totally new mindset altogether. In life, people take on the qualities and mentality of what’s familiar to them or what’s common in their natural habitat. And as humans we adapt to these surroundings. The adage is…If you want a different outcome, you must make the necessary changes that are required.
During my time as a civil servant, I would recommend to the clients that they try to see the other side. Meaning…see how people in other areas geographically, live differently. I would encourage them to read and do research of other cultures. This was a hit with the clients, because their faces would light up with anticipation. For this was unfathomable to many of them. The idea of new beginnings never occurred to them. I think this applies for everyone. There is more to life than what you presently know. Everyone should take the time to see the other side. It could be life changing. I wonder how many will attempt to try something new.