EDITORIAL 6 : There’s a lot to learn for wastin’ time

By The Editors

Date Posted: Sunday, 13 December 2009


Sometimes, fortunately not too often, when we ask someone if they would like to write an article for the forthcoming issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal there is a response  that goes along the line, “I’m pleased that you asked me and I’d  be interested  to do it but regrettably my life and work schedule does not afford me the time and space”. All of us involved with the nurturing and educating of children and young people   –    parents, all kinds of carers, social workers, teachers, youth workers and any of the other important professional disciplines which offer support to children and their carers   –   are always hard pressed. There appears  to be an increasing demand on our time from government, employers, the conclusions of various research studies, regulatory, validating and qualifying bodies, and all manner of  watchdog and childhood interest groups who tell us and impel us to carry out what they define as essential procedures and who also insist that it is imperative we fully record these if the children in our care are not to meet with a terrible fate. Some of these directives and warnings are valid. Many are not. In our natural anxiety not to be seen as avoiding action which potentially might keep children safe, we are fearful of not heeding these demands.

On the other hand it may be important sometimes to release ourselves from our hamster wheel  and allow ourselves time to reflect on what we are doing. Study, training, and reflective supervision may help with this but limited time and increasing workloads, inevitably, get in the way of these. Somehow we feel less worthy if we are not doing direct work or recording it.  These matters are given priority, at the cost of time for study, training and supervision. “It’s not me I’m bothered about, it’s the kids” is how we justify this.

As a mere editorial group we do not, and may not, demand it,  but it is our hope that you will find time for reading, reflection and writing. Our hope too is that you will be sufficiently attracted by what is in this issue of the goodenoughcaring Journal to read one, more,  or all of its articles.  There is a thread running through them all which speaks of the significance of making time and space to hear the individual reflections and views of children and young people, of their parents and of their caring adult figures. It tells also of their participation in what surrounds them and of their constructive influence. Of course the authors of these articles are in a large part writing about many of us. At the very least what they have written should afford us space for our  thoughts and our creativity.

We can forget too easily that the quality of our direct work is influenced by how much it allows us to stand still for a moment and think about what it is we are doing. In this issue Dominic McNally describes his work in a children’s home with a young man he calls Peter whose unremittingly confronting behaviour caused some of Dominic’s colleagues, his managers and, for a time Dominic himself,  to believe that Peter’s placement at the home should be ended. It was “a waste of time” to hold on to Peter any longer one of Dominic’s colleagues suggested.  Dominic recounts that in receiving relevant training and in being given the opportunity for reflection he became able to contain Peter’s emotional turmoil and acting out until Peter could do this for himself.
“There’s a lot to learn for wastin’ time “.

Young, N. (performer and composer, 1978)  “Look Out For My Love”  on Comes A Time    USA  :  Reprise Records      Access at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejAZ6yN2q0w

© goodenoughcaring.com  December, 2009



27 Dec 2009,    John Fallowfield writes
Its great to see that the journal is continuing to raise awareness of the importance of relationships in social care work. 
19 Dec 2009,    Keith White comments
Your Journal is a first rate contribution to thinking on caring for children.