Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Trying to help

My Quaker workshop each day last week was "Life Lessons of a Bad Quaker."  It was run by Brent Bill, author of the book by the same name. One of the things Brent did was show this video, twice.  It is called "The Honest Preacher".  


Teachers, therapists, physicians, politicians, as well as preachers, have flocks of people to minister to.  We are reading aloud "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb. Much like the preacher in the video, the therapist often wants to say "Stop it!"  Hard as it may be to believe, people often don't know what they are doing that needs to stop. Sometimes, they have a clue, though, but don't know they are entering the problem area as they do.  Sometimes, they know, especially after the fact, and are punishing themselves even as they continue what they shouldn't. Smoking and drinking to excess come to mind.

All the leaders of flocks know that self-control, discretion and empathy are basic to doing their job well.  A sense of proportion can help bring patience to a long struggle to open eyes to a problem. Some small step in the right direction might be noticed and strengthen the shepherd's ability to perserve without naming names or accusing people in front of others.  Even a private session that uncovers the burden the leader has been carrying in dealing with one's journey can undo progress and send the client/parishioner/student back into pointless self recrimination. 

If any humor appreciated by both leader and client can be found and used, it can be very helpful.  Leader and client both use their conscious minds steadily but sub-conscious feelings of unity, camaraderie and mutual humanity can emerge on the side and below awareness, increasing the friendliness and appreciation of each other.

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