Language is something which fascinates me…which is why I chose to write my dissertation of 20 000 words on the subject of animal communication. But whatever happened to “the wise old owl sat in an oak, the more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard…wasn’t that a wise old bird?” . Maybe animals are wiser because they DON’T speak. Speech certainly is a major part of human language, but vocal communication is only one aspect. Even humans communicate with gestures and body language.
Animals are a good model in many ways – they often learn more about us by not speaking than we learn about eachother by speaking. That’s one of the reasons why we love dogs so much, and why we think of them as some of the best psychologists. I imagine anyone involved in outreach work is by definition a good listener – taking the time and respecting people enough to spend time hearing what they want to say.
That’s why it saddens me to know that there are still people out there who would advocate the idea of wetting and waking people who are homeless or on the streets up in the middle of the night to wear them down until they agree to attend rehab or simply accept a change of lifestyle. It is true that in some cases, when approached with an offer of help and support to change, many people who have been living out on the streets refuse to take the offer. But we know from psychology that we cannot change ourselves, especially with any addiction or complex needs, without first acknowledging it and deciding we don’t like it and want to change. And how about the vast amounts of red tape and paperwork involved? The prospect of being dragged into a system in which people then get ‘lost’ again. That in itself would be enough to put anybody off.
So maybe we can learn more about eachother by listening, instead of by taking the same, inhumane approach to every case as if they could all be lumped in to one category.
Listening, and getting to know each person on an individual basis, over a long period of time, we can do a lot more good than the short term NIMBY ism leading some councils to adopt ‘assertive’ approaches to the issue of homelessness. That’s why I so much admire the work of the Pilion Trust (and other organisations who work by the same principle). Their individual approach to every one of their clients as a human being, who deserves to be listened to and heard, seems in my opinion to be the best way forward. So I am glad to know where 50% any profits after meeting the costs of materials will be going 🙂
Please visit: http: //www.thepiliontrust.co.uk/index_files/Page356.htm