“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Seuss
The profession of social work is filled with people who have big hearts and an extensive toolbelt of skills. They focus on the interaction between human beings and their environment, “having refined the art of listening and the science of hope” (from Pn Ironbutterfly, 9/6/21). Personally, these ideas inspired me to enter a love affair with social work during my first year of college that has endured throughout my career. I have been enriched by the wonderful experiences of my social work journey and remain incredibly grateful.
The challenges are many, of course. There are the stressors based on the emotional impact of joining with highly traumatized clients or populations to confront the life problems that accompany social injustice, institutionalized racism, general attitudes toward oppressed or marginalized people of neglect, abandonment, stigma, and blame. There are also stressors from the need to conduct ongoing rigorous self-examination to hone the tools that we use- ourselves, as well as the limits that mean we can’t help everyone. Fortunately, social workers are life-long learners and advocates who don’t give up!
Social work in the U.S. originated with volunteer efforts to address poverty and harmful social conditions. It grew to build a foundation which embraces both science and political activism. Jane Addams, a remarkable woman who was active in the late 19th and early twentieth century, is known as the mother of social work. I’d like to share with you a beautiful word portrait of Ms. Addams that is touching, powerful, and captivating by Nate Di Meo, who featured her recently on his podcast, The Memory Palace, entitled “The Life and Works of a Monumental Figure. Enjoy …