“I have spent my entire working life with people who have communication impairment of some type. But I have come to understand that unless we are intentionally kind in our communication, we are all impaired. And we impair each other. And we impair our world.”
Warm greetings and welcome!
Greetings through the connectedness of eyes, smiles, gestures and words build our health – physical as well as emotional health. But on a website, I am squeezing written words to do the job!
I am a speech pathologist, criminologist and courage facilitator with interest in the ways in which communication and courage contribute to justice – for individuals and society. This website and its blog are purposed toward discussion of these concepts and to make connection with people and events which support them.
In 2017 I was awarded Tasmanian Australian of the Year for work teaching literacy and communication to prisoners – and those at-risk of prison futures. It is work worth talking about. For kind communication is a key plank by which to expand dignity, community safety, equal opportunity and fellow-feeling within our entire society.
Giving skills and dignity to others enlarges and enriches us all as individuals and as community. Not doing so, diminishes us all.
Talking about the challenges of crime and offence, and about connection and redemption, can be difficult. But if we can steady ourselves in these conversations and deeply listen to the stories of others, remaining calm, we can be powerful in helping society to progress. While bringing others along, rather than isolating them. Or isolating ourselves. The needed tools are those which help us to become better communicators, better listeners, more self-aware.
Prison literacy is only a part of the work which interests me; but it is all tied together with this common thread: fine communication.
Championing women’s voices also matters… actually, all voices. But because modern western society has inherited some paternalistic habits, women often need just a bit more of a leg-up. As do children. And those with disability and minority differences. And… well… also men… many of whom also experience emotional struggle under the weight of unreflected societal notions of masculinity.
Hearing all of these varied voices can only be accomplished by listening. That’s where courage and communication skill are needed. It’s hard to listen to voices which we discount. Or those we don’t agree with. Or of which we are afraid or suspicious. It takes safety, courage… and kindness. We all benefit from kind attention to our stories. Mary Oliver, wonderful poet, says “To pay attention – this is our endless and proper work.”
Becoming aware of the way we connect with others, is important for personal and professional growth. But it’s also important for the world. The world needs a swelling of this awareness. Because troubled communication between people is at root of many of society’s problems – small and large. And it is also a pillar in the solutions. The more we can be kindly aware, with humility of mind, of the connection, skills and power which we bring to our communication, the more we can develop ourselves and be generous toward others.
Warm connection is a driver of health, happiness, harmony, skills, productivity and ultimately, of equity and wisdom. Scroll around the site. See how much. Be astounded at how closely within our reach we can find power for positive change which is not just utilitarian… but beautiful.
No one is too sophisticated or too lowly for kindness. And no problem is too sophisticated or lowly for it either. Most problems, in fact, arise from not having been benevolently other-minded and responsive from a spirit of brotherhood in the first place. Thus kindness is not a vapid non-answer to world problems, but the life-giving part of all answers.
This is the understanding to make common.
November 13th marks World Kindness Day. When I first realised there was a day set aside to celebrate, contemplate and initiate acts of kindness my immediate reaction was: “Just one day? Is that all?” Of course, I believe in kindness and connection for the other 364...read more
Dumbo had it in him to fly... so the story goes. But he needed that potential 'drawn out' by a trusted friend. And so it is with reading and writing. The potential is there in every child to fly in the mastery of these skills. As we tread the path toward a society in...read more