Friday, July 31, 2009

What's in a name?

A caregiver called me the other day and said that someone might be contacting me about a mediation problem they were facing. She said that the person who was contacting me thought that it might be useful to speak with me because of my legal training. The interesting thing was that this wasn't a legal problem at all.

I'm grateful for my formal education but honestly, I've learnt much more during my time with CWS. The bottom line is - it doesn't matter what your educational level is or what you were trained in. One of the best mediators I know is a woman who doesn't speak much English and yet manages to almost always solve the problems.

There's no special 'trick' to being a good mediator or even a caregiver. Being a doctor, or a lawyer, or an accountant doesn't automatically make you better at it. Certainly you can go for classes and courses for mediation at least, but the most important thing is experience.

I think a lot of us are hung up on titles or degrees. It's only natural - but we're much more than our formal education. Mark Twain, who himself left school early, famously said, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education".

Don't think that you are not 'qualified ' to be a caregiver, or a mediator because you don't have the right 'training'. All you need is a desire to keep learning, a calm temperament, and a bit of common sense. There are tons of resources - more so now than ever before. There is a vast array of information on the Net alone. There are other caregivers or mediators who can give advice whether online, or in person, or over the phone.

You'll be surprised how much you learn just by observation. Much of it cannot be taught - though an experienced caregiver may be able to point it out to you.

Finally, remember that everyone has their own set of skills. Some people will make excellent caregivers, others, fantastic mediators. Still others may be fantastic fosters. Find out what you enjoy and what you're good at and that's where you'll best be able to contribute, no matter what your 'training' might have been in.


Mary said...

Yes Dawn, totally agree - no special trick, neither education, nor titles but sincerity, positive motivation and lots of patience :)

Anonymous said...

Just like parenthood-first-time parents are not trained. If you are willing to learn + common sense you get to expert level.

Dawn said...

Mary - exactly :)

Anonymous - a good point. No one 'teaches' parents how to be good parents.