Reconciling Differences


reconciling differences

A low rumble of discontent pervades the members group and I have refused to intervene or manage it. Two people, two cultures, two ideas and they don’t meet in the middle. Its not like there’s an argument going on its just that what one says make the other feel uncomfortable but not so uncomfortable as they want to make a meal of it.

I have discussed it with the most likely to be offended member and made it clear that they need to raise their own issue – Its what speaking up is about.

And here we are at the first meeting of the year. Its a low turn out. Its cold and wet outside. The only people in attendance are the nearly combatants. And it starts as soon as the first biscuit is dunked in the initial cup of tea.

“I admire you so much”

“Why?”

“For all you have achieved in spite of your disability”

“You admire me for going to the pub? Who else do you admire for going to the pub?”

“Well, no one. Not really”.

The difference is clear. We label ourselves by affilitation to a model of disability. One sides with the tragedy model the other with the social model. I try to keep out of it. I am conflicted by my own desire to stand with one side against the other. I do however, mediate, give explanations, and smiles. As post training learning is taking place.

Later I promote MCIL news. Top of the agenda. 12th January. 5.30pm-7.00pm MCIL Members have been planning a Bring A Bin to the Civic Centre Day to protest at cuts to the adult social care budget. The combatants are on one side in this affair. One is up for contributing a dustbin. The other for turning up punk style in a bin bag. Both will be festooned with slogans concerning waste, rubbish, litter, bins, etc. One may be up for Speaking Rights though that’s been done before. The other is interested in exploring how to start a political party and to find out what is needed to stand for  election. The room unites around a theme of the Merton Disabled People’s Party. One sees this as an opportunity to promote MCIL the other as a means of taking a broad view on disabled people rights. MCIL would not seek such party affilitation and would see any such party as being separate to and independent of MCIL but these are the discusssions in the room and it is this that shows common ground and an opportunity to reconcile differences.

MCIL also wish to promote Dignity In Care training, appraisals and evluations of care homes supporting disabled people. One can do it, the other can’t.

Both are likely to attend MCIL’s Event on February 22nd – ‘What Independence Means’. The former tragedy model mouth piece has already contributed ideas on this and is wondering how to enhance statements they have already made. The social modeller needs to look at a calendar.

And such is the nature of MCIL’s members group. You come, you speak, you may disagree but we have more in common than we may appreciate and our differences can be reconciled thorugh dialogue and learning.

 

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