I’d like to believe that I am unique, as most people do. As I’ve grown older, I have taken a liking to certain things and developed in them, with a huge focus on music and art.
The first skill that comes to mind is my love for music and proficiency in piano. Now, I am by no means a new-age Chopin or Liszt, but I have slowly accumulated an understanding of most chords and the harmonies that can go with them, without having to consult a chart or another musician. It’s the easiest instrument to play and sing along to at once for me, while ukulele kind of drags me behind and I might mess up the strumming pattern or hold a vocal note for too long. Nonetheless, I have always had a passion for music, and I hope that I am going to meet children or youth who share this same passion; I can teach them what they might not know, show them new musical artists and strengthen (or first create) our relationship based on a common love for something beautiful and universal. Some people do not wish to always talk, and clients are no exception. Perhaps they would prefer to listen to something pleasant instead, and think of things outside reality for a while. If I could offer them that, whether playing something live myself on an instrument or simply on vinyl or an electronic device, it would be the greatest gift of all.
The second ability of my own that I could utilize is my fondness for visual art. How better to engage someone in critical thinking than making a trip to a local gallery and taking in the work of local or international artists? For myself, art is an escape from reality, the same as music, and I know that this is true for other people as well. If I encounter those with this same interest in my work, we could establish a connection and relationship by sharing thoughts and expressions in the shared interest of art. Even if a child or youth knows nothing about art, I could offer knowledge and passion, in the hopes that it will rub off on them. Of course I couldn’t give an art history lesson (nor would either of us want it), but I could engage younger children in activities like finger painting and positive self-expression through other mediums. The older ones I would also finger paint with. Finger painting does not discriminate by age. Finger painting is good for everyone.
The third ability I could bring to the table would be baking and cooking. I’m vastly better at baking than I am at cooking, but the idea here is that both activities have the room to be fun and creative, and are life skills that some of my clients may not know of, especially if they’re younger or have a lack of access to learning opportunities that suit their individual cognitive development. Having the opportunity to work with food to learn life skills while having fun at once is something that I know some children and youth might be missing out on. I would have no issue providing that for them, and, as the goal for all other things in this field is, create a therapeutic relationship, strengthened by the youth’s feelings of competence and accomplishment in the kitchen.
A fourth skill of mine is the ability to identify and utilize herbs and natural remedies. Nature walks are one of my favourite hobbies and they’re a really great way to unwind after a difficult situation or if I just want to get away for a while. These walks are where I find a lot of different plants with varied medicinal uses, and I love to learn about them. I have several books with sketches and photos of flowers, ferns, roots and mosses that can be dried and ground into poultices and just about anything the heart desires; consulting these books on my hikes and being able to match a few sketches to the real thing is more fantastical than it sounds on paper; I learn to appreciate the systems inside each little life on the forest floor, and know the ways that they may aid me should I ever need them. Having this deep appreciation for the natural world is not something that I alone experience, and I hope that I am able to work alongside children and youth who see these wonders, too. Though, even if they don’t feel the same, I would be more than willing to share my love and insight, if they would take it. Having a shared respect and love for something so small and yet so large in the lives of all humans is something that would definitely help in fostering a relationship between myself and a client, and give us something to do. Who wouldn’t want to take a long walk through the trees and make a nice bouquet to put in their home? Unless they have allergies. Then I would not advise flower-picking.
The last skill I can think of that I carry with me is a love and talent for writing. And the best part about poetry is that you don’t necessarily have to be really good at writing to make anything! Sometimes just placing words in different spots on a page can make the meaning of them all turn about entirely on their heads, and it’s honestly quite amazing to me. I’ve always loved writing stories and poetry for as long as I can remember, and ever since I was young I tried learning the meaning for every word I came across, and a couple that I had never heard of before. I was often looking through dictionaries and thesauruses (what actually is the plural of thesaurus?) in an attempt to find newer and better words for the ones that I already knew. Writing has proven to be an excellent outlet for me during times of stress and sadness, and I would highly recommend it to anyone, even if they feel they are not particularly good at it. Everyone starts somewhere, and written art can always be improved, even if the writer is the finest wordsmith in the world. That being said, taking my own proficiency and knowledge with me to work and being able to offer those who are interested an outlet in writing is thrilling.
Author’s Note: There are actually two plurals of thesaurus, namely thesauruses and thesauri. That’s fun.
Image taken from commons.wikimedia.org.