Tuesday, April 7, 2015

“Let’s play keep-away!” On second thought, let’s not.

Did you ever play the kids’ game, Keep Away? You know, the game the bigger kids played and stuck a younger kid in the middle and threw the ball just over the younger kid’s head. It was a game of teasing and power. I never liked being the kid in the middle. Adults play a similar game of keep-away. It’s done with knowledge that should be shared. Someone once said, “Knowledge is power.” Yes, that is true. But, while true, knowledge in the hospice environment must be shared. Unfortunately, my experience has been that there are some on an IDT that play that game. They have a tidbit of knowledge that would benefit another Team member, but they keep it to themselves. Poor self-esteem may be a reality to some on an IDT, but self-esteem is never made better by withholding necessary information. This behavior is called Conversational/Relational Violence. Silence or not sharing information is most violent of conversational acts. Other acts of conversational violence include: • Masking—selectively showing our true opinions with sarcasm, sugarcoating, or couching • Avoiding—staying completely away from sensitive subjects • Withdrawing—pulling out of communication altogether • Controlling—coercing other through how we share our views or drive the conversation itself. Cutting others off, overstating our opinions, speaking in the absolute, forcefully changing the subject, or using directive questions to control the conversation (“Don’t you believe that…? You should…) • Labeling—identifying people or ideas as objects that can be dismissed as a category or general stereotype • Attacking—punishing another person by belittling, name-calling, and threatening. So, these issues are what are behind the adult version of keep-away. Not such a nice game. Chaplains cannot and must never start that game or be a part of the game. Bless you, Chaplain Colleagues, yours is a sacred work with many a twist and turn. Be pure, be honest, be transparent.

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