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Empowered to be our best

I wonder if you have ever stopped to consider the relevancy of the ANZAC story to our work here at Baptist Care SA?  No? Well, I’m not surprised. The link between the experience of warfare and working in community services is not exactly obvious, for all that it is significant.

Recently, I watched a documentary on the role of Australians in New Guinea and the sacrifices made by soldiers in places like the Kokoda trail and Bougainville. It talked about the sense of mateship and the way people went to extraordinary lengths and endured incredible hardships in caring for each other, often carrying wounded friends many miles over horrible terrain to get them aid. At the heart of the narrative, was the idea that the only way the soldiers could get through the difficulties they faced was together. By trusting that their mates had their back. This is one of the reasons that soldiers form such amazing bonds.

So here’s the thing.  It struck me that for many of our staff that’s their situation too. While we are gratefully not experiencing the traumas of warfare, we do work with some clients who have some extraordinarily difficult behaviours, or are engaged in tackling really complex issues like poor mental health or homelessness. Often these behaviours and issues have their origin in the traumas of our clients’ past and, while their trauma informs our practice, it does not prevent the things that clients sometimes say and do from wounding us.

It occurs to me that like the ANZACs, one of our most vital supports is our fellow staff. Like them, we need to be able to trust that our colleagues will support us in moments of crisis. In essence, that they have our back and will support us when the going gets tough.

Like the ANZACs, it is when we can rely like this on each other that not only do we provide the best quality care and support to clients, but we, as staff, are empowered to be our best.

Ian Warner
Staff Chaplain

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