I’m tired of ‘emerging’.
I was reading another one of those endless articles the other day about how we are an ‘emerging profession’. It annoyed me so much I threw it in the re-cycling basket without finishing it. Who knows, it might even have been a decent article if I could have got past the ‘emergent’ apology for being who we are.
I’ve been reading about how we are emerging for the past 30 years. An ‘emerging profession’, an ‘emergent profession’. Really! Give me a break. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am tired of it. It’s like saying, "I’m trying. No really, I am trying. I’m sorry I haven’t made it yet. Please excuse me."
We either are, or we aren’t. Which shall it be? For me, we are. But, then, I’m also okay with knowing I have growing to do. Now, I am okay with some qualifiers, although I am also getting sick of excusing ourselves because ‘we are a young field’. What’s young? Fifty years? A hundred years? Who do you think was looking after the children in the orphanages, and in the crčches? Not doctors. Not teachers. Our ancestors in the field of Child and Youth Care.
Yes. Our ancestors. Now before you go and reject them as not Child and Youth Care Workers, let me offer you an analogy. My grandmother’s family came from Scotland. They had a different last name than me. They did different work. They were farmers and peasants. So, what should I say — that they were not really real? That they were ‘emerging Garfats’. The people who came before us are part of the same family. So, in the end, no family is young. And no profession is really young. Underdeveloped maybe. Unsophisticated according to modern standards, maybe. But young. I don’t think so.
As for ‘being a profession’, well I am not really sure that I know what that means but assuming that I do, well then can we at least start to call ourselves a developing profession, or an under-developed profession, or even an unsophisticated profession. Or even, gods forbid, an exciting profession in a stimulating period of growth. But, please, let’s stop the whining, excuse-making and apologies. It just keeps us down.
Personally, I think all this talk about ‘emerging’ comes from one of two places — from our own incessant pre-occupation with thinking we are less than other professionals, or from other professions who want someone lower on the totem pole of development than they are. What’s wrong with standing up and saying, ‘this is who I am’, with no apologies, no excuses, no hesitation.
I know that the average Child and Youth Care Worker does not talk about herself as a member of an ‘emerging profession’. Most of the competent workers I know refer to themselves as professionals. Period. Pointe final. Next issue. But then they aren’t hung up with measuring themselves against some formal standard of which, typically, they aren’t even aware. While many in the academic world may consider us an ‘emerging profession’, with the accompanying inference that we are somehow ‘less of a professional’, I am satisfied, myself, that I am a professional, working in a respectable profession.
I’m tired of ‘emerging’. And I am tired of reading articles that try to tell me I still am. Let’s just stand up and say, ‘this is who I am’.
In this Issue
Of sixteen pieces of writing this month, six are “old” (drawn from the archives of various journals) and ten are new writing. A nice mix, though probably most or all of the “old” pieces will be “new” to most of our readers anyway. CYC-NET has always tried to keep alive material which remains relevant and thought-provoking, whatever its age. Our literature runs deeper than this month's new journals and books, and can get lost to the field if we don't look after it.
It is holiday time in the Northern Hemisphere and two or three of our “regulars” are away from their offices at this time. Henry Maier and Niall McElwee especially wrote to excuse themselves this month. Enjoy the break, guys.
For Profession and Practice this month we have dug up from one of the earliest issues of the Journal of Child Care a wonderful piece of “live” Fritz Redl, reconstructed from a talk given at a 1976 conference in Toronto. Of similar vintage is a surprisingly contemporary sounding article from the UK's Social Work Today (1981) by Robin Douglas and Chris Payne on the challenges introduced by the coming of shift work in residential care. Kirstie Maclean, Director of the Scottish Institute of Residential Child Care, has allowed us to use an item on resilience from the May 2003 issue of their publication In Residence. There are also articles by Jo Webber on cognitive theory and Christine Puder on humour from Reclaiming Children and Youth and the Journal of Child and Youth Care respectively.
offers a comparative look at life imprisonment of juveniles in South
Africa, England and Wales and the USA. The lead article in our
Features section is a joint publishing venture with the new journal
Relational Child and Youth Care Practice:
Nightingale writes a most charming and insightful
report on her use of horticulture in work with boys in a remand home in
Ireland. In addition, there is the usual bouquet of interesting writing with contributions
including a cautionary tale by
Rubem Alves, Teresa Gutherie
on poverty, Brody Cameron
looking forward to a conference and the words of a youngster
in care, Maxine.