Monday, August 17, 2009

Different worlds

Lon - Ha! Made ya look!
Originally uploaded by tsmyther
I was working through my photo backlog over the weekend and this morning. I have a bit of time on my hands, since I was laid off from my job of over eight years last Monday. I found this photo of a tactile learning display from the British Museum, and thought how good it is that museums assist those who can't appreciate (through physical disability or mental learning orientation) the usual "look but don't touch" display of objects, and how often we don't allow this in our daily lives.

I've been working with a group called Jobs for Life for the past few months, training students in job-search and work-life skills. During the study, I've made some realizations about my own career path, and, suddenly, I am at a point where that knowledge is being brought into brilliant focus. I'm now seeing things, literally, from a different learning style.

The first thing I realized is that I get irritated when people show that initial "Oh, you poor dear" look. I lost my job due to a change in business direction by a large corporation, not because my one and only skill of buggy-whip-making has been made obsolete by a change in the world's economy. Through the grace of God, I'm fully able to learn and take stock of my options and will arrive at another place where I can offer my skills for hire. So save the hand-patting, and just say "Sorry, buddy. Glad you've got some time to think things through."

My older daughter, perhaps, responded the best of those who I've told. She's excited to work with me through what I want to do in what she's called "the next stage of your life." She's just finished school, and is looking at options for further schooling and her career ahead, and sees no roadblocks. I think it's time I let her play the counselor role for a bit.

So, just as the Rosetta Stone brought together our understanding of three major antique languages by seeing parallel accounts of events together on the same page, and just as museums have learned that some people need to feel and touch and interact with the artifacts of a civilization in order to understand them, so, too, must we get in the trenches of those we would work with in finding solutions to poverty, illiteracy, drug use, and, yes, dealing with job loss. Walking in the other person's shoes is really more than just a good saying - it makes good practice.

from dusty archives - Largo Lodge

[ed. This piece was written some time ago, but I found it recently while moving hard drives on a computer. I thought some folks may find it ...