"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

January 18, 2013

LA to Chicago...

As my week has moved me forward and toward, my thoughts are with all of you out there striving to provide.  I hope the week has treated you well, and if not, I hope you have found an opportunity to learn from the "whatever" that may be presenting a challenge.  Remember, you always have a choice on how you want to handle, manage, cope, and all that goes into walking through life's greatest lessons.  As I reflect on just that, I realize that some of the greatest lessons that I've been fortunate to receive have come to me from a place that I will be seeing real soon.  I'm heading out to Chicago in the morning, a place I have frequented much over the years.  Chicago has always been a city that I embrace well, not only because of the ohana that awaits my arrival, but what the city itself has given me.  Over the years, no matter where my life was at, Chicago was that place that was stable, supportive, and gave me a sense of comfort that just felt right, no more need to explain.

I have lived in Los Angeles (one of the most impacted cities in the nation) for the majority of my life, with a decade plus stop in New York.  Los Angeles has much to offer, however over the years it has become more and more disconnected and disengaged, and thus the sense of community at times is not so present.  I can break down the reasons why from a sociological perspective, but that's not the intention here, all I can say is somewhere along the way many people stopped making eye contact, saying hello, holding the door open... In Chicago I have always felt welcome, engaged, and a part of something bigger than myself.  Now, I'm not naive to the point that I don't recognize that I have not lived or worked in this place, and my time spent there has been only brief periods over the years, I get that.  I am not making any type of comparison here, just an observation from a participant observer who has an interest in the environment that they are immersed into.

You can say that urban ethnography is something that I gravitate towards, and thus when I visit the inner workings of cities, my lens is different.  I'm observing, listening, and taking note of what most may walk right by.  This skill set has suited me well as a social worker, having the sociology background in conjunction with the social work framework really has allowed for a smooth transition from the subjective to the objective, with an informed perspective. I stay up on my practice, while taking pride working on my craft, never speaking to what I do not know. You see, with our work, the learning only stops if you stop it.  I encourage any all that are listening to keep working on your self and practice, because when you do the benefits translate into positive outcomes, which most likely will move you one step closer to helping those in need thrive, instilling more hope than not, while walking with your head up and heart  open!

Another week has come, and although it's not quite over, I hope that you have been able to reach and teach, support and empower, and walk towards progress.  That in of itself is not always an easy task to accomplish, and in the field of helping others change for the better, we take incremental successes as they come, while hoping that these will add to a much greater outcome, in time...  As I reflect on my week, like many, I have put it out there with the intention that my efforts (to help others) will take its course into something positive, and all that goes into doing the right thing without thinking.  You see, with the service involved in helping others we don't always see an immediate outcome, and so, we must trust the process.  We must recognize what is possible, and walk confidently within our abilities, knowing where to turn when we need support.  We must recognize what we have accomplished, while learning from the challenges that presented themselves.  We must do our best to not take things personally, and when we find ourselves in that space, stop to recognize the difference between what we can not control vs. what we can!

As I leave you for this week, may the weekend bring you an opportunity to breathe and exhale, as you take care of yourself.  Don't over think what will still be waiting for you on Monday.  As we celebrate and honor Dr, Martin Luther King Jr., and welcome back President Obama for another four, embrace the message that both of these great men represent, while you allow it to transfer as it should! 

 About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW  Email
Founder oCan You Hear Me? External Field Instructor at University of Southern California School of Social Work MSW@USC. Daniel has a Masters in Social Work (Families and Children Practice/School Social Work). He is currently nearing the completion of the LCSW testing process.  More about the man behind the mission ⇢

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