A Way With Words

I've had a long career working with just one single tool...words. When I was 16 I was hired to work as a lifeguard at a pool frequented by challenging children. That's where I started to hear stories of real life hardships.

About that time my sister and I started to accompany our father to political events. He was an elected official who seemed to get along well with everyone. We'd chat with people from a broad social spectrum and I learned a lot more about hardships. He'd do whatever he could to help those who asked for assistance.

I majored in English in college and taught for a while, until my son was born. Everyone has to study English in high school so I met another very wide range of people.

Fast forward to years later when I worked with some very successful people as a career counselor at an expensive agency. Only affluent people could afford this service so I focused intensely on their world for a while.

For quite a few years now I've been working almost exclusively with the most disadvantaged people of all, chronically homeless individuals disabled with psychiatric disorders, traumatic brain injuries and substance use disorders.

What's most interesting to me as I reflect on these experiences is that I helped them all using words, the same words. Much like a physician treating a disease, these words are pretty much the same for all.

So... why do we treat those with a history of chronic homelessness with contempt?? We are far more alike than we are different. I've enjoyed working with all of these people and still do...even today, people from the high end world often request assistance or cycle back into my life in need of help again.

There is nothing more fascinating than human behavior. The second most fascinating thing is the immense power of words. You can read my other posts here to learn more about the healing power of words. Use hashtags #drmary#emotionaleducation

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