After some more contemplation and after reviewing a response to my latest blog, I decided to return to my blog to add an addition to what I had written the night before. I only wrote to advocate a cause and not to cause people to get all emotional. However, if certain emotions did come to surface, it may be wise to consider why. In other words, please don’t take it personal and see the big picture.
The way I see it, I see this as a national crisis (will explain why soon). As I have learned in one of my classes, the two Chinese characters that are used for the word “crisis” symbolizes “danger” and “opportunity.” I see all of this as an opportunity for growth as a community. Please note the word “community.” My intention for last night blog was for communities to note the crisis and attempt to create a change.
The reason why I state it is a national crisis is because, in America, we strive for individualism instead of collectivism. Individualism is about self-determination and independence. Although these are “good” notions, it can often damage relationships. For example, a wife or a husband that may desire their independence from one another may loss the concept of “us” over time. As a result, they may conclude that divorce is the only way to resolve their situation. Collectivism refers to what is important for the betterment of others. Collectivists value “saving face” of the community, family, cooperate, etc. And, once again, this sounds “good” but there are also some disadvantages in this area as well.
How is individualism “damaging” relationships? Is this a key in understanding the Bystander Effect I had mentioned in my previous blog? If I had to write a paper in Crisis Counseling, I think I would have chose this subject because it intrigues me. As a community, I desire to hear input on this situation and I also desire to give feedback (i.e. advocate).
For example, my dear school counselors (I say “dear” because the load that you carry is phenomenal and I deeply respect that), would it help to go into elementary classrooms (or have a school assembly) and speak about the Bystander Effect in words that elementary students would understand? Just to say “don’t ignore the ‘quiet ones’ who seem distant in class,” would that make a difference? Or, another approach would be to “speak” to the “quiet ones” and say “If you need someone to talk to, my office is located [say place].” Unfortunately, for my case, I was unaware that school counselors even existed until I was a senior in high school. And, even then, my conversation with the school counselor was not a positive one (she seemed to have lacked multicultural competence).
Please allow me a moment to share some insights that may benefit those who will be counseling various cultural backgrounds, personalities, etc. There are many “myths” about how different we are as people. I would like to focus on what are common:
Myth #1: Some people just want to be left alone.
My Reflection: There is a time when “some people” need to be alone but I have a hard time believing the same people want to be always left alone. For those that are Christians, God has encouraged us to “strengthen thy brethren” (see Luke 22:32) and do not neglect the assembly of gathering together (see Hebrews 10:25). There is power in association. Whenever I feel down, the last thing I need to do is to remain by myself for a long period of time because I am only left with my own perspectives (side note: having only one perspective of an event may cause more harm than good). But when I view events from the eyes of others, I am able to view the world differently (I think God for my male friends!). This reminds me of Ecclesiastes 4:12: “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Myth #2: “Leave me alone” means leave the person alone forever.
My Reflection: Often this is the cry of someone that has been hurt by too many people that he or she has come to “rock bottom.” I will be honest with you, it’s rather hard not to take this message personal. However, because of my previous reflection, I understand that this individual must not mean forever. So what should we, as members of an society, do with people who scream out this response? Definitely not leave them alone forever. But when will there be enough time to approach them once again?
The final myth that will be left up for dispute is one that I am fighting to write down. So I think I will wait to write this one down. Any thoughts on what I have written thus far? Please feel free to leave comments on my blog. Let’s have some discussions. :)