I spoke with a wise and learned carer a few days back. Caring,compassionate and more highly educated than most, we met in a place where people who have dementia receive care.
‘Some people find it difficult to be here: too challenging’ the person said as they spoke about the differing conditions and effects that people were experiencing in that place.
‘What you have to do is to enter into their reality and not challenge it’ they continued- implying that that took time. Most attempts to get them to conform to your reality would lead to upset, incomprehension and would have little effect. They then said that not everyone could manage that because of the time that took, because of their desire to be in control or simply not having the ability or willingness to do so.
We then speculated that the experience and the attempt to do so would be valuable for most ministers, particularly those who talk of ‘seizing the day’, ‘taking authority over’ or even ‘taking control’. Those things are important, but the awareness that things did not work out and that people-getting to see them as valuable in their own right; was so much more important.
Sometimes you can learn the most valuable lessons if you stop and listen.