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The SeniorScape ™

The Cost of Sticking Your Neck Out

Several weeks ago, I posted a picture of giraffes on social media with the caption; “nothing changes unless you are willing to stick your neck out.”

This is aligned with the words of John Lewis, "When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something."

This past week I attended a business workshop wherein we were given an assignment to make a video that represented what we stand for and to share our video with other attendees. The person with whom I was sharing first asked me to describe my platform and why it was important. After my 1-minute elevator story I shared my video which began with the image of the giraffes.

Immediately upon beginning my video, he told me about the American psychologist Marshall B. Rosenberg who was a student and colleague of Carl Rogers, the American psychologist who developed the person-centered approach to communication based on qualities of empathy, compassion, self-respect, and respect for others, all of which foster improved and lasting relationships.

It is the basis of the Center for Nonviolent Communication. (CNV). Non-violent referencing the Ghandian movement, essentially communicating and resolving conflicts in a way that does not cause hurt, upset or harm to another person.

CNV allows you to understand that the feelings and emotions you are feeling are neither caused by the situation you are facing nor by the behavior of the other person, but by your own needs, which you need to address for your own well-being.

Marshall B. Rosenberg used two animals to describe the two types of communication that explains the Center for Nonviolent Communication.

o The jackal which represents more aggressive communication. this is based on domination and utilization of guilt, shame, punishment, and praise as the cornerstones of techniques meant to manipulate.

o The giraffe represents communication based in kindness. He chose the giraffe because of all land animals it has the biggest heart has few enemies in the wild. In this category, he references Thomas D’Ansembourg’s book, ‘Cessez d’être gentil, soyez vrai’, translated which means: “stop being nice, be honest”.

Flash back to a nursing home in which I covered as a speech pathologist. I was alone in a dining room with 5 residents. Though It’s required a nurse is present when residents are eating in the event of any emergency, in this case there was no one to be found.

After a considerable period of time a Nurse Aide finally entered the dining room. I don’t know why she approached me to tell me the information she shared, except that she hadn’t seen me before and thought I might be a sympathetic ear. She described a situation with 3 of the newly admitted residents seated in the dining room who she said were not vaccinated and was concerned about her own health and well being as well as her family, especially her older mother who has several underlying conditions.

Later on in that same evening, there was a situation in which a resident immediately rejected the dinner that was delivered to him by the nurse aide. He was a rather tall gentleman recovering from COVID. The dinner meal consisted of a sandwich with one paltry slice of meat between two slices of bread, certainly not sufficient for a dinner meal, nor for a person of his size. Upon hearing the resident’s refusal, the nurse aide picked up the tray and nonchalantly left the resident’s room without a word.