Friday, April 25, 2008

Can Paige Come Out and Play?

APRIL 8th 2008
I took some time away from our more serious talks and decided to just participate in “play” with Paige. We hung out at a room that was being prepared for a party for the local youth in the community. We helped to decorate the place and fell into the inevitable moments of distraction and goofing around. I assigned her as my “tape girl” as we hung paper flamenco dancers on the wall for this fiesta. We hung the dancers in a contorted way at first just to see how others would react. We laughed and we bonded. Our relationship seemed to enter a new place when we realized the fun we could have together and how our humor worked together. I could tell that she enjoyed our time together as much as I did. People asked if we were attending the party the next day and Paige replied that she was going only if I was going. I replied with the same, “I’ll go only if you go.” NOTE TO SELF: Trust and relationship can be built through play.

Instant Replay

Although recording the conversations has proven to be a successful method of documentation, I have run into one problem. Over an hour of conversation that I had with both of my informants together appeared to be recorded, but when I attempted to play it back it would not work. I could not find a way of getting past the error message no matter how many times I tried. This may not have been as big of a problem if I had checked the recording right after the conversation. If I had checked it sooner and realized it was not functioning then I could have grabbed a notepad and written down some of the information while it was fresh in my mind. Of course that is not the way it happened and I checked it a few weeks later. This made it tough for me to remember all that was said. NOTE TO SELF: Check recording right after it is complete!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Where One Door Shuts, Another One Opens

I tried to get together either one or both of my informants yesterday. Given the late notice, they both already had their own plans.

As far as P. is concerned I had offered to take her to the night classes she attends at the high school (she must do this in order to graduate in time). As we continued our conversation through text messaging she then informed me that she was planning on not going to school tonight because her friend was home from college and she wanted to hang out with her. I wondered to myself, "Could I be included in this?" and approached the subject in an indirect, unthreatening way. After a longer pause as I tried to keep up with her fast texting skills, I asked her what they planned on doing. She quickly replied that they would probably just drive around aimlessly. I wrote back mentioning that if there was ever a time that that I could just tag along then to let me know. My hope was that she would invite me then to come along but it was obvious that P. was not going to open that door. Instead she politely replied, "Yeah, when me and D. are hanging out one day I'll let you know."

D. also had her own other plans at that moment so I faced another shut door, yet where one door shuts another opens. D. responded to my interest in trying to spend time with her and she set up something with me for today. Today I will be with D. after she finishes work today and meet her at her house. I have not been able to see her room yet so I am looking forward seeing it, and also to have time alone with her.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sensitive people may not be cursed, they may be our blessing

Sensitive people may not be cursed,instead they may be our blessing. Why is it that we seem to desire to point our finger at the hurting and just dismiss them as "broken"? Maybe there is something bigger that is causing what appears to be this chain of brokenness we see. If we are willing to look at things differently we may be able to change a life by changing ours. We can change the way we respond to the brokeness.

I found the following on the web.

What We Can Learn About Society
The people who cut and self-injure have the same emotional needs we all do. The problem is that more of their needs are unmet. And they often are people who are more emotionally sensitive than average. This means they feel the pain of the unmet needs more than the average person, just as a person with sensitive hearing feels pain from loud noises.

The people who are more sensitive can tell us what is lacking in society if we will just listen to them. If they tell us they feel over-controlled, then we can look at the ways society is over-controlling in general. None of us like to feel controlled, but for these people the feeling is more painful so they are the first to recognize situations where they are being over-controlled.

There are many ways we could learn about society from sensitive people.
In a classroom of 20 students, for example, there will always be one or two who feel the pain of the teacher's remarks more than the other students. We have a choice on how to handle this pain. We can tell the student that she is too sensitive and needs to get on with things, or we can listen to her and see what the teacher is saying which is causing her pain.

If a child tells us the teacher frightens her, then we can learn from listening to her. Or we can tell her there is no reason to be afraid.

If a boy says he is bored, we can listen to him and try to make the classroom more intellectually challenging. Or we can tell him to stop complaining.

If an adolescent tells us she feels judged by the comments we make about her choice of clothing, we can listen to her and try to be more accepting and less judgmental. Or we can tell her she takes things too personally.

If an adolescent tells us she feels unloved by her parents, we can ask her to explain why and learn from her. Or we can tell her that we are sure her parents do love her, that they mean well and that she should appreciate all the good things they do for her.

In many countries we have an abundance of material things. Our physical needs are well accounted for. But our emotional needs are not. Many of us have unmet emotional needs. But for the most part we are simply unaware of them unless we become severely depressed. Even then we often turn to medication rather than to addressing the shortcomings in society.

By listening to those who are in intense emotional pain, rather than telling them they have a disorder, such as the all-too-popular "Borderline Personality Disorder," we can see what changes are needed in the homes, the schools, and the workplaces.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

3 Hour Tour

I toured my informant's room tonight with the other informant present. Unlike Gilligan's Island 3 hour tour this one was less light hearted and lacked comedy. After spending 3 hours talking with my informants tonight, I am exhausted. It began with and ended with heavy and serious conversation. The girls were very open and I noticed them watching my reactions. It was as if my facial expressions were a gauge for how much the girls would feel comfortable sharing with me in future conversations. I focused on not showing judgment with my expressions and rather just showing understanding, interest, and compassion. One of the girls spoke about a girl she knew who was struggling with certain issues. I knew that the other girl in our midst also struggled with just the same problem. For this reason, when the matter was brought up I was careful to remain very cool and not react at all. I noticed that the girl in our midst, who struggles with the same issue, looked over at me to see what my response would be. I was careful because I knew that by watching my response she was likely deciding whether she would ever share with me her own personal struggle.

I chose to record my informants and it seems to be a great way to have them converse very naturally. Taking notes would seem to serve as a constant reminder that our conversation is for research. While recording them however, it seems that they were quick to forget about the project and just talk and share very naturally.

I can not help but to have a heart for these girls. They have a lot to say and they are fighting against hard times.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When All Is Said and Done

I having been thinking a lot about being sure that I have the time I need to really connect with my teenage informants. I take the commitment serious that I know I will need to make to these kids even after the semester is finished. I know the lonely feelings I felt at that age. I often felt brushed off and ignored by adults. For these reasons and others, I do not want to engage in a real and personal relationship with the teens and then walk away when the research is over and leave them feeling abandoned and disregarded. I know the end of the semester is still months away and yet I still find myself thinking about it a lot.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Recording Information

I am planning to record the time I spend with my informant with an audio voice recorder. I feel that it would be too distracting for me to be writing on paper and taking notes while speaking with my informant. I believe that it will seem too formal and unnatural. I don’t want my informant to be constantly reminded that I am documenting all of their words, because I don’t want them to change their behavior. Instead I am hoping that it will be easier for one to ignore a recording device and feel comfortable, therefore behaving more naturally.