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The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

C'mon People Now

SO, I AM SITTING IN STARBUCKS. Reading the additional journal articles we just found out will be on our class exam Saturday morning.

Thankfully, I find them to be remarkably interesting. All about multicultural counseling, and cultural competency, the Appalachian perspective, and the African-American worldview, as well as a book review of African American Grief.

I am highlighting the article print-outs and drinking my grande Christmas blend, the bold java choice for the day. It's unusual that I am able to concentrate amid constant caffeine-induced jib jab, incessant bean-grinding and the frequent firing of the frappuccino machine.

I finish the article by Kathleen Salyers and Martin Ritchie titled, "Multicultural Counseling: An Appalachian Perspective," feeling fascinated (once more) by human behavior and moved by the values and common identity of the Appalachian "insiders" who count family as most important, and who would rather suffer through a hardship than ask for help. I was intrigued by the info on "cognitive outsiders" (or, haters, as we might call them) who tend to marginalize the Appalachians and put them in a box that labels them as "hillbillies and poor, mountain folks." Like they are a one-dimensional people. Then there are the "residential outsiders," (or fence-sitters, as I'd like to call them), who fall somewhere in the middle of insiders and cognitive outsiders.

Fascinating stuff. I really learned something, too, about the importance of my own application of the Multicultural Counseling Competencies (MCC). As a clinician, I'll need to be aware of my own assumptions, values and biases; have awareness of my clients' worldviews; and choose culturally appropriate intervention strategies for my clients. This will mean lifelong research about different cultures to ensure best practices. I am amazed at how psyched I am about this.

As I gather up my things and begin packing my book bag, I hear the song on the player. It's the Youngbloods singing, "Get Together." (Or, someone else doing a great cover of the song.) The lyrics nailed me. I sat back in my comfy chair and took a listen.

"Love is but the song we sing,
And fear's the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry

Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why

C'mon people now, Smile on your brother
Everybody get together

Try and love one another right now

Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last

We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass

C'mon people now, Smile on your brother
Everybody get together

Try and love one another right now

If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand

Just one key unlocks them both
It's there at your command

C'mon people now, Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try and love one another right now

Right now,
Right now!"

It felt like a cosmic nudge. And the message? "Stay the course. You are on the right path. It's all good."


~Ms. T. J.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE that song!  Great lyrics and a great message.