Thursday, November 18, 2010

simple, right?

My deep thoughts for the day...

This week I've been in training to become a leadership advisor for a drug and alcohol program. Today in class we were asked, at the end of a very broad, long and dry presentation, "True or False: Can we win the war on drugs?" Most in the class answered no. I however answered yes, and was laughed at incredulously by some of the members of the class.  Here's how I defended my answer: Yes, we can win the war on drugs one person at a time.

The war on drugs that I can fight and win is on an individual basis with people. I can't go to Mexico to broker peace with the drug cartels, to Afghanistan to convince farmers to stop planting poppies and funding the local Taliban and hence world terrorist organizations, or to Colombia to stop the cocaine trade. I can work with individuals who come to me or are referred to me for help, and point them in the right direction to get help, and I can help to educate people before they make these choices.  That's the part I have control over and the possibility of me winning this part is there, difficult, but not impossible.

Someone laughed when I said that we can win one person at a time, and used the analogy of the starfish on the beach. Yep, it's true we can't throw all of them back in the ocean, but to the ones we throw back in the ocean a difference has been made. Another person accused me of being a Democrat, as if they have the corner on individualism... Nonetheless, I stand by my answer. We can win, one person at a time.

I get frustrated sometimes by the lack of vision when it comes to managing personnel administration programs within organizations. Sure, part of managing a program is to monitor statistics and apply the over arching policies. However, unless the application of the program is distilled to simple terms, then the point is missed, and the point with this particular program about which I'm learning is people. How to educate a person to think about his or her choices. How to help them when they don't make the right choice. How to determine if they deserve a second chance or if the policy will allow a second chance. How to hold them accountable when their actions don't uphold the standards and values of the organization. We have to apply programs to people and on an individual basis when we can.

People are the most important part of any program and by losing sight of how to apply programs to people, then we lose sight of the people.

But, people are not the simplest element to deal with. I get this. People have to want to change and even then they may not choose to, I get this too. I get that sometimes I won't be able to help someone in the ways they truly need to be helped, because of the parameters of the program I'm dealing with. That's life and sometimes, well a lot of the time, it's not ideal. That's okay, and I can deal with that, as long as I know that I did my part.

Thanks for reading. I just had to get this off my chest today.

1 comment:

Tara said...

I agree with you, I think we could win the drug war--one person at a time. In my mind it comes down to the break down of families in our society. If we had good families who were teaching morals and values, a lot of our society's problems would diminish. W0ith good programs who help those "rebels" who, in spite of their families, make bad choices, I think we would be surprised at the good we could do! Good for you Christine! I didn't know you were starting this new adventure. What a good use of your precious time!