Reflection by Hope House resident, Sara Haines
I have a confession to make: I’m a closet pessimist. A few months back I had an evaluation and received several “excellent’s,” some “good’s,” and a “satisfactory” or two. Naturally, I focused on my deficits. The logic goes, “here are the deficits, eliminate the bad.” Let me tell ya, my motivation to tackle my weaknesses faded fast. It’s so draining to focus on all the work that needs to be done!
In social work, what my background is in, the strengths based perspective makes for one of the professions bedrocks. This approach to a situation focuses on a person’s competencies, especially one’s resiliency, rather than their weaknesses. For me it can seem like stopping to smell the roses while there are weeds waiting to be pulled. Yet, it’s the beauty of the roses that inspires me, reminding me why I started weeding in the first place!
Here at the Port, the People’s School is all about cultivating life. It is workshops led by people in the community, sharing their talents with others to help them cultivate and develop their own abilities. If the people are the roses, the Back of the Yards is the garden, gangs, violence, and poverty are the weeds, and the People’s School is the gardener.
Within each person lies gifts, waiting to be unearthed “because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). Just as water poured on a flower prompts its growth, so too does pouring love into another’s gifts. And they grow in the most incredible places.