August 3, 2011

By Angela Liddle

As I was practicing yoga the other day, the instructor was going on about the yin and the yang. I didn’t really give it much thought until later that day. I thought about how I feel when I am too busy- tired, stressed and cranky. Living well and being healthy is about balance. When things are out of balance, get ready for some wonkiness! Just watch the evening news to see the results of being out of balance; watch the national or local news – it doesn’t matter.

Then I started thinking about how balance applies to the work we do with children and families and our interactions with others. Actually, I first started thinking about how out of balance we are with paying homage to so-called reality stars when men and women here and abroad put their lives on the line everyday to protect us….. but that is a different blog. Sometimes systems, families and individuals evolve to cope with imbalance. There must be a natural inclination to restore balance even if our efforts do not result in the healthiest choices. So, what if we approached our work with families using that framework? Working with them to discover what is out of balance, not what is “wrong, broken or not working. “ What if we helped them discover healthy ways to restore the balance? And what if we approached our own lives in the same way we worked with families?

I recognize that this is not a new idea and that many agencies have become more strength-based and solution-focused. Miracle questions, scaling and similar strategies are great and it’s wonderful to see this trend. I also recognize that the challenges some families face are complex and multifaceted. I certainly don’t mean to oversimplify. But what if we are making it harder than it needs to be? What if, indeed.