Monday, August 15, 2011

I Don't Wanna

Whether you are a parent or not, at some point in your life you have probably witnessed a child having a tantrum.  Almost invariably, this attention-seeking behavior is the result of the child being asked to do something that the child does not want to do.  The child can’t rationally explain why he or she doesn’t want to do something, so their argument generally begins and ends with “I don’t wanna!”

Most of us experience a world where “I don’t wanna” isn’t considered an appropriate response to most requests.  But I strongly suspect that for many of us, there still lurks (beneath our grown-up exteriors) the impulse control of a two-year who wants to reject any unexpected or inconvenient appeal by simply saying, “I don’t wanna.”

I have noticed this tendency recently simply by paying attention to my surroundings. Right now, the system of how we fund and provide services for individuals with one or more developmental disabilities in Colorado, and indeed the nation, is in a quandary.  There are very few people who would disagree with me about this. New ideas and new approaches to serving some of our most vulnerable citizens have received luke warm receptions at best.

I believe that everyone in this system wants to do better by those we serve.  The question remains if we can get over our urges to say “I don’t wanna” because alternative approaches may mean hard work and uncertainty. 

I recently enjoyed an evening viewing "Transdendent Man: Live with Ray Kurzweil" , and  Ray Kurzweil TED Talk: Singularity University. Whether you are on board with Kurzweil would be an interesting discussion, but not for today. What was important for me to hear was a question to Kurzweil about how to respond to people who find it difficult to change. He described that people do not find it difficult to change when the change will benefit their lives. Well … we have reached such a state of deprivation with our systems of supports for the lives of people who have disabilities that I am convinced significant systems change is on the horizon. This change will be welcomed with open arms by users of the supports, providers, family members, and tax payers alike.

As I have said before, I think that the new Governor Hickenlooper administration is making many moves in the right direction (Essential).  I really, really believe that we will see some differences that will translate to better lives for those we serve.

Then again, what do I know?

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