THERAPY, COUNSELLING AND RESILIENCE TRAINING FOR MANAGING COMMUNICATION AND BEHAVIOUR DIFFICULTIES
Posted on October 5th, 2015
Bit of a gap there, sorry, but as Darwin supposedly said, ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, but the one most adaptable to change,’ and though I meant to write my next blog sooner, I have simply had to be flexible as I have both been moving house and, happily, arranging for my book, working title, ‘The Significance Delusion’, to be published.
Watch this space….for now three months of editing and tidying the work up, but it will be worth the wait. Promise. Lots, lots more of, and about, the ideas that this blog can only really touch the surface of.
So – as you were. I was about to go on to talk about those other words that I ‘binned’ at the Festival of Education back in June; and also about Resilience itself. What Resilience truly is.
Today, I shall take a quick look at the combined forces of happiness and positive thinking, the leitmotifs of so much educational theorising of the day. I binned both words because, to me, they less practical goals that we should aspire to than fantasy concepts, ones that are largely the accidental by products of an occidental world view. A utopian world view that re imagines the Biblical Eden into a perfectible childhood. A nice, cosy, essentially rather middle class, childhood.
It’s not that I’m anti happiness, or anti being positive in life, far from it. But I am anti the idealisation of such states of being, as I am of pursuing them simply for their own sakes, as ends in themselves. If, on the other hand, they are the by- products of a more rounded and grounded way of living, then that is a different matter altogether.
To burden people with the idea that they should always be happy, and if not should feel less successful than others, is just another form of emotional bullying. It’s not even as if such goals lead to the end result they promise – in fact the pursuit of happiness has been shown to lead to the reverse state, one of depression and sense of failure. You can read more on this in my book, but just trust me for now. And anyway, could we really wish that Shakespeare’s life, or Beethoven’s, or Alan Turing’s for that matter, had been so full of personal happiness and positivity that they had felt no need to extend themselves, or ‘to take arms against a sea of troubles’ in such powerful and creative ways.
No, we shouldn’t focus too much effort on ‘feeling states’ – that’s another form of self- absorption. Let’s aim to build the resilience to deal with the much more complicated (and often interesting) conditions that we may have to live with.
That way lies greater satisfaction anyway. So, next time I mean to take a look at what resilience really is.
Posted on September 12th, 2015
Hello, and welcome to my new blog. I don’t really know why it’s taken me so long to get around to writing one – I share my thoughts fairly generously with the world most days. It’s just that, till now, the world hasn’t been fully alerted to its good fortune. Today that is finally going to be put right (write?).
My main topic, the rationale and impetus behind ‘going public’ at all, will be human behaviour. Modesty belongs with reticence and they both lie in the past. Human behaviour is what I major in, and it was largely human behaviour I was talking about when I was invited to speak at the rather wonderful Sunday Times Festival of Education, held at Wellington College on the 18th and 19th June. Nominally it was Resilience I was there to talk about, but what is resilience, if not the best marker of really successful human behaviour?
Another day I may go into a bit more detail about why I think I’m entitled to talk about this with a degree of certainty and enthusiasm, but right now I’m going to explain why I’m not about to talk about anything with….
And that’s because I felt assaulted by the repetition of the wretched word during my two days at the Festival. This is not a criticism of all the speakers who felt it necessary to repeat it ad nauseam during their slots, but it jolly well is of a world that seems to think you can’t function as an ethical and concerned teacher (never mind human being) without going over the top with feelings, the new world’s morality, it seems.
My own talk began, rather neatly I felt, with my literally binning some of the tired and overworn educational captions/clichés that others were promoting. Such words as these were written on the slips that hit the bottom of the basket:
Empowerment, Mindfulness, Feelings, Stimulation, Passion (ahead of the curve there), Enrichment, Happiness, Self- esteem, and Positive Thinking
Because I believe that these are ideas which have been oversold, often by American academics, and are now definitely too much over here.
So, reader, I binned them.
I binned them because they are feelgood ideas that pander to the current obsession with both self and self-gratification – the last preferably instant. In essence, they are all about the most important person in the world, ‘Me’.
But the reality of Resilience is that truly resilient people do not primarily think about themselves. Far from it. And neither do they respond to anything and everything with – Passion, that hijacker of sense, and sorry excuse for everything from the bullying of others – ‘he/she is simply passionate about their cause’. Ergo they must be right and must take centre stage, to the detriment of those who feel that not being passionate, but merely believing something to be sensible or obvious gives them too little investment in their cause to have an equal right to speak up and speak out – to a sloppiness of thinking and/or of performance, just because they really, really care.
I’ve worked with far too many teachers who have felt that having a passion for their subject (or at least their personal take on some aspect of their subject, occasionally political, occasionally sociological) gives them the right to promote various degrees of nonsense, instead of acknowledging to their students that all ideas might have similar value, or at least that opposing claims to value need to be weighed and judged dispassionately.
Passion is an ignis fatuus. It leads us alluringly into emotional and intellectual bogs. Reader beware!
But what about those other binned words, and what about the truth of Resilience?
Till next time………